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Varicocele: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About varicocele

Varicocele is a condition in which the veins of the scrotum get enlarged and tortuous.

Varicocele: Incidence, age and sex

They are most frequently diagnosed when a patient is between 15–30 years of age and is rare after the age of 40. They occur in 15-20% of all males and in 40% of infertile males.

Causes and prevention of varicocele

Malfunctioning valves or compression of the vein by a nearby structure, can cause blood to pool in the veins, which results in dilatation and increased pressure in the veins, leading to the formation of a varicocele.

Signs and symptoms of varicocele: Diagnosis

Symptoms of a varicocele may include a dragging or aching pain within scrotum, feeling of heaviness in the testicle, shrinking of the testicles and visible enlarged vein.

Upon palpation of the scrotum, a non-tender, twisted mass along the spermatic cord is felt likened to feeling a bag of worms. The diagnosis of a varicocele is essentially clinical.

Varicocele: Complications

Complications of varicocele include testicular atrophy, low sperm count and male infertility.

Varicocele: Treatment

Varicocelectomy, i.e. surgical removal of the dilated vein is the treatment of choice. An alternative to surgery is embolization, a minimally invasive treatment for varicocele that is performed by an interventional radiologist. Embolization is an effective treatment for post-surgical varicoceles. Medical treatment with L-carnitine may produce some improvement.