Varicoceles refer to the swollen and enlarged veins of the scrotum, a pouch that contains the testicles. Varicoceles look similar to an enlargement above the testicles and can be easily identified as a bulge on the scrotum. There is, however, no discoloration on the skin but men complaining of varicoceles often suffer from the tenderness of the scrotum.
Like all other veins, the veins of the scrotum also have valves that prevent the blood from flowing backward. In a few men, these valves become faulty and fail to work as desired. Thus, the deoxygenated blood is unable to travel back to the heart and leads to blood pooling accompanied by extreme pain and swelling.
Although a large number of men who have varicoceles, do not have any visible signs, a few of them complain of difficulty in impregnating a woman. This is the primary reason behind varicoceles being linked to infertility in men. Certain research reports have even stated that treating varicoceles helps improve the likelihood of pregnancy.
What Causes Varicoceles?
Varicoceles are fairly common and reported to be affecting 10-15% of the men but doctors are yet to confirm the cause of these weakened valves. According to recent research studies, men who smoke are at a greater risk of developing varicose veins as smoking is known to damage the blood vessels and weaken the valves.
However, alcohol consumption and the occupation of a person has been found to have no link with varicoceles. In some cases, the growth in the stomach has been determined as the cause of excessive additional pressure on the veins which further leads to varicoceles. This has been prominent in men over 45 years of age.
For a majority of the men, varicoceles are inexplainable and do not have an apparent cause. Also, varicoceles do not always point towards an underlying health issue.
How are Varicoceles diagnosed?
Most men do not have any discomforting symptoms of varicoceles. However, a few of them may have heavy sensation and occasional throbbing in the scrotum. A majority of the men discover about varicoceles only when they face infertility issues and visit a fertility expert for treatment.
Healthcare practitioners diagnose varicoceles by physical examination of the scrotum as they are able to feel lumps and unusual blood vessels. Doctors may also recommend an ultrasound scan to confirm the presence of varicoceles and check for the severity and location of the damaged veins.
What are the treatment options for Varicoceles?
Varicoceles that do not cause any symptoms do not require treatment. A varicocele may require treatment in the following cases:
- Varicocele is causing pain and swelling
- A man has a varicocele and is suffering from a low sperm count or other issues with the sperm
- A couple has unexplained infertility and the male partner has varicoceles
The treatment options for varicoceles include surgery and embolization:
- Surgery – The
doctors block the blood flow to the damaged veins and then surgically remove
the varicoceles. This process is called varicocelectomy and requires general
anaesthesia. Patients may experience pain and tenderness for a few days after
- Embolization – This procedure requires local anaesthesia and can be performed in the doctor’s clinic itself. In this process, the doctor makes a small incision to insert the needle into the damaged vein and cut off the blood supply to it.
Embolization is a safe procedure and has a high success rate. It is a painless and minimally invasive procedure that is quick and has a zero downtime. Dr. Rajah V Koppala at Avis Vascular Centre specializes in the embolization treatment for varicoceles. He has over two decades of experience and an array of 12000+ happy patients who are totally satisfied with his treatment and post-treatment medical assistance.
Dr. Rajah V Koppala practices at Avis Vascular Centre that has state-of-the-art medical facilities along with the latest equipment and advanced infrastructure. Schedule an appointment for a medical check-up, accurate diagnosis, and effective treatment of varicoceles. Book now!