A varicocele is an enlarged vein within the scrotum (the skin that holds the testicles). A varicocele is similar to a varicose vein that you might find in your leg. This can be a common cause of male fertility problems as it affects the health of the sperm.
Fortunately, a varicocele can be easy to diagnose and treat. In a lot of cases, a varicocele will not cause any symptoms. In more rare cases, you may experience symptoms such as:
Sharp or dull discomfort
Pain that gets worse when you stand for a long period of time
Pain that worsens over the course of the day
Pain that improves when laying down
Problems with fertility
Over time the varicocele may become bigger and more noticeable. This can be compared to a ‘bag of worms’ and often cause swelling to the testicle. Varicocele’s are almost always found in the left testicle and will often develop during puberty.
As stated before, a varicocele will often cause no symptoms and will therefore not need any treatment. Patients will often be unaware of a varicocele until it is picked up by a fertility specialist. If you notice a lump in your scrotum or abnormal swelling it is important that you go and see a doctor, as it could be caused by a varicocele or something more serious.
The exact cause of a varicocele is unknown; however, experts believe that it is linked to lack of blood flow to the testicle. This causes the veins to widen.
A varicocele can be diagnosed from a physical examination. Once it has been diagnosed it can be corrected with surgery to redirect the blood flow into normal veins.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.