What is a Varicocele?

Varicocele is a venous insufficiency condition in which the veins in the scrotum (the sac surrounding the testicles) become engorged due to poor functioning valves. The most common cause of infertility in males between 15 and 25 years of age affects 15-20% of the male population.

Varicocele Treatment

Vein abnormalities in the scrotum cause varicoceles. The valves within the veins control testicles. Blood circulation becomes irregular due to a defective valve in the vein, resulting in blood pooling. The veins in the scrotum enlarge or become inflamed as a result. A common cause of this condition is the rapid growth of the testicles during puberty. Most varicoceles are found on the left side of the scrotum. A small percentage of cases result in both scrotums being affected.

Varicocele Surgery

Laparoscopic Varicocelectomy

Usually performed under general anesthesia, laparoscopic varicocelectomy is preferred for patients with second or third grades of varicoceles. In this procedure, the surgeon makes small incisions in the abdomen. Using a thin laparoscope and CO2 gas, the surgeon inflates the abdomen through a small incision, allowing a clear view of the internal organs. After identifying the swollen veins, they are cut and closed. All tools are removed after the ends have been sealed, and sutures or clips are used to close the incisions.  

Microscopic varicocelectomy: 

Generally, a microscopic varicocelectomy is performed if infertility is a concern. Surgeons perform this procedure by making a tiny incision above the scrotum. Surgeons separate the scrotum’s vas deferens and testicular arteries using a microscope. The surgeon dissects the spermatic cord without affecting the lymphatic drainage to reach the spermatic cord. To drain the blood away from the testicle, each abnormal vein is meticulously dissected circumferentially and tied off to disrupt its flow.

Symptoms of Varicocele

  • 1. Inflammation of the scrotum or visible lumps
  • 2. Scrotal pain that is dull and recurring
  • 3. Pain and swelling around the scrotum
  • 4. Veins with twisted structures are easily observed in the scrotum
  • 5. An experience of testicular heaviness
  • 6. Infertility

Causes of Varicocele

  • 1. Spermatic cord blockage
  • 2. Scrotal or testicular injury
  • 3. Epididymitis and other infections
  • 4. Wearing no protective gear when exercising
  • 5. Puberty
  • 6. Consuming drinks while standing 

Types of Varicocele

Etiopathogenesis of a disease divides the Varicoloe into two major types : 

  • 1. Primary varicocele
  • 2. Secondary varicocele

A. Primary varicoceles occur due to reflux from spermatic veins into the pampiniform plexus, usually on the left side in almost 85% of the varicolcele patients.

B. Secondary varicoceles occur due to an increase in the pressure of veins of the testes by various medical conditions like hydronephrosis and hepatic cirrhosis.

Diagnosis of Varicocele

Diagnosis of varicocele may be based on the size and appearance of its outgrowth if it is large and can be felt as a soft bag containing worms. Another subclinical varicocele can only be visualized or detected via imaging tests. The test may include scrotal thermography or an ultrasound called the Doppler reflux test.

Another diagnostic method can be the ultrasound test only that will help in ruling out the overlapping causes of the varicocele, like an outgrowth in spermatic veins surroundings. Other diagnostic tests include semen analysis and hormonal tests for detecting levels of FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and decreased testosterone levels. 

Varicocele grading system

Varicocele Grade

  • 1. Grade 0: Not detected physically but Visualized on ultrasound, these are “subclinical varicocele.”
  • 2. Grade I: Can be felt on physical examination (Palpable) on performing the Valsalva maneuver (“bearing down”)
  • 3. Grade II: It can be felt (Palpable)even without Valsalva
  • 4. Grade III: Type of Varicocele that has led to visible deformation of the scrotal sac

Are Varicoceles Common?

Yes, the varicocele is very common, and they do not tend to be dangerous. On average, almost 15% of male adults have a varicocele. Largely, the disease remains unnoticed for its entire life and poses no severe problems. In many, adolescent varicoceles occur wherein they get resolved spontaneously without much attention.

Varicocele Surgery Recovery Time

The patient undergoing varicocele surgery will recover completely in 3-4 weeks. There may be slight pain in the groin and bruising or swelling of the scrotal sac that will also go on in a few weeks. In most cases, people return to their normal routine 2-3 days after minute microscopic surgery, depending on the type of varicocele surgery.

What does surgery for a Varicocele involve?

Following are the steps involved in performing laparoscopic varicocelectomy:

Minute incisions are made in the lower abdomen, and a laparoscope is inserted through a cut. This will allow visualization of the interior environment of the body on the connected screen. Eventually, the surgical procedure is carried out with utmost care.

Risk factors for varicocele

No obvious risk factors indicate a higher risk of varicocele development. Mostly the varicoceles occurring over time develop during puberty. Obese men have been found to have a little higher risk than healthy men.

Varicocele associated Complications

  • 1. Certain complications in Varicoceles:
  • 2. Fertility impairment
  • 3. Declined production of hormone testosterone from the testis
  • 4. Scrotal discomfort
  • 5. Varicocele is not usually treated until there are complex medical complications. In certain cases, a varicocele may also lead to a complete lack of sperm during ejaculation.

Since varicoceles are common and usually go undetected throughout life. Around 80% of men having varicoceles deal with them without necessary medical intervention. Additionally, most men with varicoceles do not report hormonal imbalance or discomfort.

Preventive measures

  • 1. Vascular system health must be maintained.
  • 2. Essential aspects of preventing varicocele development are :
  • 3. Considering damaged walls of blood vessels and valves. 
  • 4. Eating foods rich in fibers, vitamins, and certain antioxidants keeps the vascular system healthy. 
  • 5. If the patient has diabetes, blood sugar level needs to be maintained to prevent harm to the blood vessels.

What foods to eat and avoid with varicocele?

Foods needed to be avoided in case a person is suffering from varicocele

  • 1. An unhealthy diet will worsen the condition. Hence, taking a properly balanced diet is recommended to prevent the worsening of varicocele.
  • 2. Avoid foods that are hard on the digestive system for digestion and absorption.
  • 3. Foods that influence blood circulation and blood pressure are also harmful in varicocele.
  • 4. Consumption of foods enriched with refined flour lacks fiber like carbohydrates, increases digestive problems, and elevates blood pressure. 
  • 5. Consuming a lot of Junk foods with high sugar content, fatty acids, and salts. These affect weight and increase the chances of heart problems and cardiovascular disease risk. 
  • 6. The consumption of processed tends to worsen the varicocele symptoms. 
  • 7. Consuming an excess of salt in the diet increases sodium minerals in the body, which is directly linked to increased blood pressure.

When should I talk to my doctor about Varicocele?

  • 1. To consult about conditions associated with varicoceles, there needs to be the presence of certain symptoms and complications that are evident, like:
  • 2. Varicocele formation on the right side 
  • 3. Impairment of fertility
  • 4. Decreased levels of hormone testosterone production by the testis
  • 5. Scrotal sac discomfort
  • 6. Enlarged blood vessels, especially veins, look like a skin bag.

Apart from these conditions, varicocele is not life-threatening. There are rare cases when dangerous conditions arise. 

Why Choose Glamyo Health for a Varicocele Treatment

Medical consultation is required immediately upon experiencing enlarged and evident blood vessels and veins. 

  • 1. Experts in the field of vascular surgeries from Glamyo Health provide one of the best and most trusted doctors. They can suggest high-tech and cost-effective options for permanent relief from varicocele. Choosing Glamyo Health is best in many more ways like:
  • 2. Provision of USFD Approved surgical procedure.
  • 3. Minimally invasive procedure without incisions and stitches
  • 4. Health Insurance and related proceeding done by the Glamyo Health team
  • 5. Fastest recovery

Frequently Asked Questions

I have pain with my varicocele. What can I do to ease the pain?

Consulting a doctor is best if any complication like pain arises. Certain over-the-counter medications are recommended, like acetaminophen, or even ibuprofen may be taken to alleviate pain in the scrotal sac or testicles that is distracting from day-to-day activities. 

Evident signs of varicocele

Commonly there are no such evident symptoms in case a person has a varicocele. Some of the indications may be 

Slight pain in the testes and scrotum, which gets better on relaxing by lying down undisturbed.

Swelling of testicles or scrotal sac after heavier exercises or intense activities like bike riding or walking for long hours.

Certain observable alterations in the size of the scrotum

Male infertility

Small-sized lumps present above the testicles that seem to be affected.

What is the main cause of varicocele?

There is not much research about the causes of varicocele, but till now, it has been known that varicoceles develop as the result of faulty valves that are stitched to allow or prevent blood flow through the blood vessels. In a varicocele, a non-functional or defective valve passes blood to the spermatic vein.

The blood vessels are responsible for moving blood from testicles to the entire body. If the valve acting to allow or prevent blood passage through these veins malfunctions, excess blood gets built up in the testicular veins causing them to swell.

What happens on leaving varicocele untreated?

In most cases, no serious complications arise. The levels of the hormone testosterone also remain normal without getting any treatment. Rarely, there are chances of diabetes, osteoporosis, and other metabolic syndromes to occur if varicose is left untreated.

Can varicocele be cured naturally?

Yes, varicocele can be treated naturally following:

Necessary changes in the diet like increased intake of fiber and food rich in antioxidants in order to fasten the healing process of varicocele. 

Light exercise and yoga stimulate and normalize blood flow through the groin.

Should I fix my varicocele?

Largely, there is no dire need for fixing varicocele until there arises severity like increased fluctuation in hormonal levels and male infertility. Surgery is required to correct the varicocele as a part of fertility treatment. Young adults or teenagers not experiencing fertility issues are generally recommended for annual tests or checkups to track changes.

Does varicocele worsen with age?

According to various research studies, it has been found that there is a correlation between the elevation in the varicocele with age. The rise was approximately 10% in every subsequent decade of life. The rise in prevalence of varicocele has been found to reach almost 75% in the subsequent eighth decade. Conclusively, varicocele increases over time and eventually gets worse with aging.

What is the impact of walking on varicocele?

Walking has a lot of health benefits, and certainly, varicocele might get resolved by walking. Gentle walking regularly improves blood circulation and alleviates the chance of developing varicocele. 

Can I go to the gym with varicocele?

It is not recommended by doctors to lift heavy weights as it will enhance pressure on the veins of the legs and ultimately aggravate the condition. Activities that add strain, like squats, lunges, and excessive running, must be avoided. Also, sports training is exaggerating factor. Sports training may increase the prevalence of varicocele.

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