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Varicocele: causes, grades, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

It is known as varicocele to the swelling of the veins that are inside the scrotum , specifically along the entire spermatic cord that supports the man’s testicles, and that prevents blood from circulating properly. This condition progresses slowly and is more common in men between 15 and 25 years old, being more frequent in those who are going through puberty.

Varicocele is more common on the left side and as a result of the failure of circulation in the testicle, a mass forms that causes a lot of pain. This disease is multifactorial, that is, it can develop from multiple causes and its early diagnosis is extremely important to prevent it from causing infertility problems in men. However, studies have confirmed that varicocele is more common in infertile men. To learn more about this pathology, we invite you to read this article by FastlyHealabout varicocele: causes, degrees, symptoms and treatment .

What is varicocele

Varicocele is a very common condition that begins to develop at puberty and is slow to progress. This pathology occurs when the valves of the veins of the spermatic cord do not allow the blood to circulate correctly. As a consequence, the blood accumulates and the veins become swollen. Varicocele is a condition very similar to varicose veins that occur in the legs.

The varicocele is a progressive condition that increases slowly, for this reason, when the varicocele appears suddenly in an older man, it may be the consequence of a kidney tumor that is preventing the correct blood flow to some of the veins of the spermatic cord.

Causes and degrees of varicocele

There are many agents that can intervene in the development of varicocele, the most common causes of this pathology are:

  • The vascularization in this area is exerting more pressure on the left side.
  • A considerable increase in blood flow during puberty.
  • Genetics play a very important role in the appearance of varicocele, and when there are cases of this disease in the family, the man has a greater risk of developing it.

Grades of varicocele

Depending on the degree of dilation of the veins in the spermatic cord, the following types of varicocele are known:

  • Grade 1 : A varicocele is considered grade 1 when the dilation of the vein is not palpable or visible, so a testicular echo may be necessary to diagnose the condition.
  • Grade 2 : in this grade, dilation can be felt when the person makes efforts such as coughing or pushing.
  • Grade 3 : at this point of the varicocele, the dilation of the vein can be easily detected by touch without making any kind of effort, but it is not yet visible.
  • Grade 4 : the dilation of the vein is fully palpable and visible.

Varicocele symptoms

  • Swelling of the scrotum.
  • Testicular pain
  • Decrease in sperm count.
  • Painless testicular tumor
  • Enlarged and twisted veins in the scrotum.
  • Lump in the scrotum.
  • In some cases, the varicocele can be an asymptomatic condition.

Diagnosis and treatment of varicocele

The doctor responsible for diagnosing and treating varicocele is a urologist, who will examine the groin, scrotum, and testicles for the dilated vein or any mass that may be twisted or insensitive along the spermatic cord. They will also evaluate the appearance of the testicles for differences in size, since the testicle affected by a varicocele may be smaller than the healthy testicle.

Varicocele treatment

In some cases the varicocele does not represent any risk for the man and does not require treatment. However, when the varicocele is advanced and compromises testicular function, it is necessary to intervene surgically to treat the condition. The surgery is known as varicocelectomy and for this procedure it is necessary for the person to be anesthetized in a general way so that the urologist makes an incision in the lower abdomen in order to repair the abnormal veins.

The main objective of varicocelectomy is to ensure that the blood flow is directed to the normal veins to ensure good circulation. In most cases, this surgery is ambulatory and it is recommended to apply ice compresses to the treated area to reduce the inflammation that may be caused by the mistreatment of the operation.

A varicocele can also be embolized. To do this treatment, a tube is placed into a vein in the groin and the catheter will be brought up to the varicocele and a tiny coil is inserted through the catheter to the varicocele. This coil will try to divert the blood flow from the abnormal veins to the normal veins. It is also an outpatient intervention and the application of ice is recommended to relieve pain in the treated area.

Varicocele and infertility

When the varicocele is diagnosed early and treated with surgery, the sperm count tends to go up, however, testicular atrophy may not improve if the surgery is performed many years after the varicocele began. However, it must be made clear that infertility is a possible complication of varicocele in any of its degrees, since poor circulation is directly involved in the production of sperm. In addition, varicocele can affect fertilization and fertility in other ways:

  • It compromises sperm production and mobility.
  • It can decrease the size of the testicles and atrophy them.
  • If not treated properly, it can affect testosterone production, which can affect sexual function.
  • The genetic load of sperm and its production can be affected by varicocele.
  • Varicocele is more common in infertile men.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Varicocele: causes, degrees, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Male reproductive system .

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