Varicocele is considered to be one of the most common causes of infertility in men. It refers to the condition of enlargement of the veins within the scrotum, which holds your testicles, and this condition can result in reduced sperm production.
Can Curing Varicocele Restore Fertility?
Studies suggest that men have a high chance of restoring their fertility after treating varicoceles successfully. This applies to cases where varicoceles can be felt from outside, and if the person had low sperm quality before the treatment.
A varicocele most of the time do not show any signs or symptoms. However, varicoceles might enlarge and become more noticeable with time,. A varicocele was described as appearing like a “bag of worms.” The condition might cause a swollen testicle, almost always on the left side. You can observe it while standing, but they disappear when in the lying position.
While the condition is not dangerous to health, it can cause infertility. It usually affects young men. It is recommended to consult a doctor if you find the following varicocele symptoms:
Varicocele has three grades depending upon their size:
- Varicocele grade 1: This is not visible, but requires a special manoeuvre to detect.
- Varicocele grade 2: This is also not visible, but a physician can feel it at an upright position.
- Varicocele grade 3: This is visible to our eyes.
Common symptoms of varicocele:
- Pain: patients may experience scrotal pain which increases upon sitting or standing for prolonged periods. This is because of the pressure mounted on affected veins. Usually, these veins appear larger than the rest. The pain may become more severe as the day goes on. The pain will reduce when you lie on your back.
- A lump in one of your testicles.
- Swelling in your scrotum
Varicocele does not pose a major threat to our body. But it can cause the following problems:
- Testicle shrinkage: Testicles contain sperm-carrying tubules. Varicoceles make testicles shrink (known as testicular atrophy). This may be due to the varicocele causing pooling of blood in veins and prolonged exposure of testicular cells to toxins in the blood
- Infertility: The biggest complication from varicocele is infertility in men. The rise in temperature adversely affects sperm production and sperm health. This results in infertility.
Treatment for varicocele:
Varicoceles can be treated and cured, fully. While surgery is the more common option, the non-surgical method is also preferred by many. The following are the common varicocele treatment methods:
- Open Surgery: In this method, the surgeon makes a minor cut above the scrotum. Using a microscope, they ligate all small veins (Vein ligation involves the tying of veins surgically to avoid blood pooling). The surgery usually takes up to 3 hours.
- Laparoscopic Surgery: In this, the surgeon inserts tiny tubes into the abdomen and repairs the varicocele. This process takes below one hour, and the patient can leave the hospital the same day of surgery.
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Percutaneous Embolization: This is the non-surgical treatment of varicocele. In this, the radiologist makes a small cut in your neck or groin and inserts a tube in one vein. Then, using an X-ray to visualize the varicoceles, the radiologist releases coils or provides a solution that leads to scarring creating a blockage in the testicular veins, which interrupts the blood flow and repairs the varicocele.
FAQs for Varicocele :
- What is the main cause of varicocele?
The prime cause of varicoceles is defective valves of veins inside the scrotum. These valves control the blood flowing in and out of the testicles. When the normal flow faces a block, the blood pools up, causing veins to swell.
The low circulation rate raises blood’s temperature, which, in turn, raises testicular temperature. This blocks smooth sperm production and leads to infertility.
- Can varicocele go away on its own?
Once varicocele appears, it cannot go away by itself. It can only be cured with proper treatment and sometimes, surgery is needed. If you see any of the symptoms of varicocele, please visit your doctor.
- What is the best treatment for varicocele?
The most common treatment for varicocele is surgery. The alternative varicocele treatment is the non-surgical method known as varicocele embolization. This involves less pain with a quicker recovery period.
- How can I get rid of varicocele without surgery?
You could undergo embolization, a non-surgical method. This uses imaging with X-ray guidance to get rid of varicoceles. The radiologist places small coils in blood vessels to spread out blood from a varicocele. This has quicker recovery time and involves less pain.