The varicose veins in the testicles or varicocele is a dilated vein that is responsible for draining the blood from the testicles. This problem primarily affects young men between 15 and 25 years old and constitutes one of the most frequent causes of male infertility. However, not in all cases do patients have difficulties in having children. Most of the time, testicular varicose veins occur on the left side of the scrotum. Although treatment is often not necessary, if they cause pain, testicular atrophy, or infertility, it is advisable to undergo surgery to correct the problem.
In the following FastlyHealarticle, we will explain why varicose veins appear in the testicles, what symptoms they can cause, and the best treatment.
Table of Contents
Why do varicose veins appear in the testicles – causes
Varicose veins in the testicles or varicocele is an abnormal dilation of the veins in the testicles. In a great majority of cases (about 87%), it affects the left side of the scrotum, with the left testicular vein being swollen. Only in 7% of cases is it bilateral, and in 3%, it affects the right side of the scrotum.
Next, we will explain why varicocele occurs mainly in the left testicle and the possible causes of varicose veins in the testicles because, as urology specialists point out, we are facing a multifactorial condition, that is, with various Causes. The theories of the experts that would explain why this condition develops are the following:
- The left testicular vein empties into the left renal venal, unlike the right testicular vein that drains into the inferior vena cava. For this reason, the vein of the left testicle, when it empties higher, is longer and has a higher blood pressure, which could hinder the flow of venous blood and lead to a varicocele.
- The absence of venous valves in the vein of the left testicle could favor venous reflux that would form these testicular varicose veins.
- Another possible cause of varicose veins in the testicles could be compression of the vein of the left testicle by the mesenteric artery and the abdominal aorta. This location can hinder venous return and cause blood to accumulate and, therefore, the vein to increase in volume and become inflamed.
Based on the severity of the dilated testicular outlet, the varicocele is classified into the following grades:
- Grade I: reduced varicocele; it is only papable when there is an increase in abdominal pressure, for example, when coughing or blowing.
- Grade II: easily palpable varicocele of medium size.
- Grade III: large varicocele, in addition to being palpable, is apparent.
How to know if I have a varicocele – symptoms
In most cases, varicocele is asymptomatic; it does not produce symptoms and, therefore, is usually diagnosed during a routine physical examination or a fertility evaluation. When it does manifest itself, the main symptoms of varicose veins in the testicles are listed below:
- Pain in the testicles can range from mild to severe pain.
- A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum is usually worse when standing or exerting physical effort and relieved when lying down.
- Greater chances of infertility: the accumulation of blood in the scrotum increases the average temperature of the same, causing stress on the testicles, which decreases the rate of sperm and reduces their mobility. It is important to note that male infertility is usually a multifactorial problem. Although varicocele increases the chances of being infertile, some men suffer from it and can have children without difficulties.
As time goes by, testicular varicose veins can become more visible and enlarge and eventually cause inflammation of the affected testicle. On the other hand, in addition to infertility, one of the most severe complications of this disease is testicular atrophy, which is the shrinking and softening of the testicle.
When is the treatment of varicocele advisable?
In many cases, varicose veins in the testicles do not require treatment; however, if they cause pain, testicular atrophy, or infertility, it is recommended to undergo surgical treatment.
According to the American Association for Reproductive Medicine, the operation of varicose veins in the testicles is advisable in the following cases:
- Men who want to have children present alterations in the analysis of sperm quality ( spermogram ).
- Although they have not yet sought offspring, young men suffer varicocele and some alteration in the study of the sperm or a reduction in the usual size of the affected testicle.
- Adolescents with varicocele and changes in the quantity and quality of sperm may justify the appearance of infertility.
- Men with severe testicular pain from varicocele.
Varicose veins in the testicles: operation
Varicocele treatment is surgical to seal the dilated vein to redirect blood flow to normal veins. The operation can be done through the following procedures:
It is a simple procedure generally performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia in some cases. The surgeon reaches the affected vein through the groin, although an incision may also be required in the abdomen or below the groin.
Usually, the patient is discharged the next day and can resume non-strenuous daily activities in two days. Activities that require more physical effort can be resumed after two weeks if no discomfort is experienced.
The pain is usually mild during the postoperative period but can remain for a few days or weeks. To alleviate it, the specialist may recommend taking a pain reliever. You will also likely be advised to suspend sexual intercourse for about ten days.
This technique is used to a lesser extent than the previous one, as it requires a longer operation time, and the medical discharge is obtained after about 48 hours. Its advantage is that the incision made is more minor. The surgeon makes a small incision in the abdomen and visualizes and repairs the varicocele through the insertion of a small instrument. The procedure is carried out under general anesthesia.
This is not a surgical procedure, it is not as widely used as surgery, and it is usually performed under sedation. The radiologist inserts a tube into a vein in the groin so that the necessary instruments can be passed through it. The medical specialist places a solution that causes scarring to obstruct the veins of the testicles, thus interrupting the flow of blood and correcting the varicocele. Usually, the patient can resume his profession after two days and resume physical exercise 7 to 10 days after the intervention.
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 Why do varicose veins appear in the testicles, we recommend that you enter our category of Male reproductive system.
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.