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All You Need To Know About Varicocele!

Written and reviewed by
Bachelor of Ayurveda, Medicine and Surgery (BAMS)
Sexologist, Delhi  •  12years experience
All You Need To Know About Varicocele!

Varicocele is a condition that affects the veins of the scrotum in about 20% of adolescent males and 15% of adult males. The scrotum is a sack-like structure that holds the testicles in the men. Apart from the testicles, the scrotum also contains arteries and veins that supply to the testicles. In case of a Varicocele, the veins get affected and this results in their swelling.

Varicocele is very similar to varicose veins that happen in the feet. The Spermatic Chord that carries blood from and to the scrotum contains valves that regulate the blood flow. Certain unknown causes tend to make these valves malfunction and cause an irregular flow and widening of the vessels.

It has been seen that Varicocele affects the left side of the scrotum more than it does on the right.

Varicocele sometimes does not show any signs and symptoms. It does not mean that it is something that need not be paid attention to. This condition can cause a number of complications and usually comes with the symptoms such as discomfort that varies in intensity depending upon your posture and physical exertion, and impairment of fertility.

Varicocele, if not treated well, in some cases may manifest into certain complications in the later life. The most common problems that stem out of this condition are:

  1. Testicular Atrophy – This is a condition where the affected part of the testicle shrinks in size. The exact cause for this complication caused by varicocele is not clear, but it is believed that the pooled blood due to the malfunctioning valves tends to affect the testicles by increasing the pressure in the veins present in it and also causes an exposure to toxic materials present in the blood, hence damaging the organ further.
  2. Infertility – This is the biggest concern related to varicocele. The excess blood accumulated in the testis increases its temperature which does not favour the sperms in a number of ways and adversely affects their movement, formation and even functioning.

Varicocele can be fixed surgically in two methods – varicocelectomy and varicocele embolization. Both of these procedures target at preventing the blood from flowing into the faulty blood vessels and rechanneling them through the other properly functioning vessels present. Apart from this, patients suffering from this condition can also wear tight underwear or jock straps to provide extra support and prevent stress on the blood vessels.

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