Varicoceles

Varicoceles

It can be scary when it’s first detected—a tangled mass in the scrotum that is often described as looking and feeling like a “bag of worms.” Crowding the testicles, varicoceles can choke off sperm production and cause infertility in young men.

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Nearly 40 percent of primary male infertility and 80 percent of secondary male infertility are believed to be due to varicoceles.

What are varicoceles?

Often compared to unsightly varicose veins that develop in the legs, varicoceles are stretched and enlarged veins that become twisted in the scrotum. They usually develop slowly and are more common on the left side of the scrotum. Symptoms can include aching pain, a painless lump in the testicles, scrotal swelling or a bulge in the scrotum. There may also be a twisted growth along the spermatic cord, or the testicle on the side of the varicocele may be smaller than the other testicle.



What causes varicoceles?

Varicoceles develop when blood flow to and from the testicles is disrupted. Blood normally flows into the testicles through an artery and leaves through a network of very small veins that feed into a long vein that runs through the abdomen. A series of one-way valves ensures the blood flows on to the heart. Sometimes these valves fail and blood flows back into the testicles, stretching, enlarging and tangling the small veins into varicoceles.



How are varicoceles treated?

Symptoms may be mild and not require treatment. For severe cases where varicoceles are painful or associated with male infertility, surgical removal—either open or laparoscopic—may be required, or minmally invasive percutaneous embolization may be performed to divert blood flow away from the varicoceles.


Are you struggling with varicoceles?

The experienced and compassionate specialists at Urology Partners can help.

Call 866-367-8768

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