I have been diagnosed with Varicocele,
is it serious?

10 September, 2018

The doctor said you have a Varicocele, but how serious is it? It’s an obvious question any man would ask when presented with a Varicocele diagnosis. It’s estimated that around 15 percent of the male population have a Varicocele, many without realizing it. Varicocele is one of the common cause of infertility problems in men. If you have a Varicocele, then there are some things you should know about your diagnosis.

What Are Varicoceles?

Having a Varicocele is like having varicose veins in legs, but more complications are attached with varicocele. Unlike varicose veins, Varicoceles are common in young men. As per medical study, 85 percent males experience varicocele on the left side but sometime they appear both sides as well.

Varicoceles may have complications like pain, testicular atrophy, and infertility.

What are the Causes of Varicoceles?

Although it’s unclear why men develop a Varicocele, this condition is likely related to valves in the veins. For oxygenation blood returns towards the heart with the help of valves present in the veins. These vein reside within the spermatic cord and without these valves, the blood would flow backward.

Due to weakness in the valves, malfunctioning happen that causes the flow of blood backwards. Because of the blood pooling around, the last working valve puts pressure on the testicle, increases the temperature and causing enlargement of the affected vein.

What Are the Symptoms of Varicoceles?

The symptoms of a Varicocele vary. Some men have no symptoms at all. Those that do have Varicocele symptoms experience:

Unlike varicose veins, Varicoceles may come with some complications, including pain, testicular atrophy, and infertility.

  • Sharp or dull scrotal pain that gets worse with physical exertion or long periods of standing
  • Pain that intensifies during the day
  • Pain that lessens when lying on your back

Varicoceles are sometimes referred to as a bag of worms because of their appearance and feel. Because of the vein’s dilatation, varicocele changes the appearance of the scrotum, and scrotum looks like one side is full of worms. If you feel that you have varicocele, don’t delay and consult varicocele expert immediately.

How Serious Is a Varicocele Diagnosis?

For couples trying to conceive a baby, a Varicocele diagnosis can be very serious. As per study, varicocele may cause a reduction in the sperm count and sperm quality as well. Varicoceles are responsible for about 40 percent of all male infertility. Varicocele-related infertility may be influenced by:

Low sperm count – The pooling of blood from the varicocele raises the temperature in the scrotum, disrupting what is normally a cool environment. When the temperature goes up, sperm count drops. High temperatures also affect the mobility and quality of the sperm.

Low testosterone level – Leydig cells responsible for testosterone production may also damage due to varicocele pressure. With appropriate treatment, research indicates that serum testosterone levels increase significantly.

Damage to the DNA in the sperm – Sperm DNA integrity is critical for normal fertilization. Varicocele repair improves sperm DNA quality.

Poor-quality sperm – Sperm require motility to reach the egg for fertilization. If varicoceles are left untreated, they may interfere with the mobility and overall health of the sperm, reducing the fertility.

What are the Different Grades of Varicoceles?

Sometimes varicoceles are not detected durind physical examination. This would have been determined by the doctor using the Valsalva manoeuvre, a diagnostic tool where you would attempt to forcibly exhale while keeping the mouth and nose closed. If varicoceles are not diagnosed during physical examination, you should go for an ultrasound.

Varicocele grades provide additional information about the seriousness of the condition.

Grade 1: The varicocele is palpable with a Valsalva manoeuvre but not visible.

Grade 2: The varicocele is palpable without a Valsalva manoeuvre but not visible.

Grade 3: The varicocele is visible through the scrotum.

The doctor might also classify a Varicocele as primary or secondary based on its location. A primary Varicocele affects both the spermatic and renal vein. A secondary Varicocele only impacts the internal spermatic vein.

What to Do After a Varicocele Diagnosis

Once the diagnosis is made, most of the doctor not trained in minimally invasive non surgical method will discuss the surgical treatment options with you, that require hospitalization, possibly general anaesthesia, and a longer recovery period.

However, advances in varicocele treatments have led to nonsurgical options like Varicocele embolization. Primarily done on an outpatient basis, varicocele embolization closes off the blood flow to the affected veins so the varicocele shrinks and eventually disappears. The body re-route the blood flow to accommodate the closed vein.

If you are considering nonsurgical treatment options for your varicocele diagnosis, call 9868887666 today to schedule an appointment with vascular specialist Dr. Virender Sheorain.


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