Having a varicocele is when a man ends up getting enlarged veins in their scrotum – the pouch of flesh that holds a male’s testicles. The veins in this area are called the pampiniform plexus and about ten to fifteen of every one hundred men have varicocele; to put it simply, it is like having varicose veins in your legs, except that males have this in their scrotum.

This condition is common and it can be found in about fifteen percent of the population of males and it also affects about fifteen percent of teenage boys. A varicocele usually forms during the time of puberty and are mostly found on the left part of a male’s scrotum. Remember that the anatomy of a male’s left and right scrotum is different and varicocele can appear on both sides, but in extremely rare occasions; additionally, not all varicocele affect the production of sperm.

A lot of times, this varicocele do not cause problems and are generally harmless, plus it rarely causes any form of pain on the male. Moreover, varicocele also rarely gives problems of fathering a baby or a single testicle growing slower than usual.

Symptoms of Varicocele

A varicocele usually exhibits no symptoms or signs and these rarely cause any form of pain; when it does, it usually does the following:

1. Vary from dull to sharp discomfort.
2. Pain increases when a male stands or during physical exertion for long periods.
3. It gets more painful throughout the day.
4. Relief when a male lies on his back.
5. With time, this varicocele may get bigger and become more noticeable; for younger males, the presence of this condition can impair the production of sperm which can easily be improved via treatment.

Since varicocele does not usually have alarming symptoms, it does not really require any form of treatment; these may be determined through the fertility evaluation process or through the routine physical exam.

If a male starts experiencing swelling or pain in their scrotum, discovers a mass on the area, notices a difference in the sizes of their testicles, develops a varicocele during their youth, or if they have issues with fertility, they need to speak with their doctor as soon as possible. There are a number of conditions that may cause testicular pain or scrotal mass and usually, some of these require immediate medical attention.

Causes of Varicocele

The cord that holds each testicle up is called the spermatic cord that contains the arteries, nerves, and veins that mainly support these glands; if a male has healthy veins in his scrotum, the single-way valves travel through the blood from his testicles to the scrotum before sending this back to the heart. At times, the blood does not properly flow through the veins like they should and ends up pooling right in the veins, causing it to get larger than necessary.

Keep in mind that there are generally no established risk factors for the growth of a varicocele and its real cause is still unclear. One sure thing is that this condition slowly develops over time and most males that are diagnosed with the condition are aged between fifteen and twenty-five.


The doctor will usually diagnose the varicocele right after a physical examination since it cannot always be seen or felt when a male lies down; so the doctor most likely will thoroughly examine the testicles when the individual is standing and laying down. After this, a scrotal ultrasound may be necessary since it will help measure and determine the spermatic veins while simultaneously guiding the doctor. Here, he or she will acquire an accurate and detailed picture of the varicocele.

Once it has been diagnosed, the doctor will classify the condition with one of the three clinical grades present. The size of the varicocele does not affect the whole procedure and the treatment options are generally based on the level of infertility and discomfort that the male has.


Remember that treating the varicocele is not always necessary, but it is a smart idea to consider this if:

1. The individual’s varicocele causes pain and discomfort.
2. It causes infertility.
3. The condition causes testicular atrophy.
4. When the male is considering assisted reproductive techniques.

Varicocele can cause problems that relate to testicular functioning, so the earlier they begin their treatment, the higher their chances of improving their production of sperm.

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