Variocele is the enlargement of the veins in the scrotum, (i.e. the bag of skin which contains the testes). A varicocele is similar to a varicose vein which develops in the leg.
A varicocele may produce no symptoms at all, or may cause pain that may be dull to excruciating. The condition is usually diagnosed by a physical examination.
A varicocele is a common cause of low sperm production and reduced sperm quality, which results in infertility. Varicoceles also make the testicles shrink.
Luckily, most varicoceles are easy to diagnose and do not call for any treatment. If a varicocele produces symptoms, it is managed surgically.
The pain and discomfort of a varicocele tends to increase after standing, sitting or physical exertion. By and large, most patients define the pain of varicocele as being the worst in standing position. The pain worsens as the day progresses, and ameliorates when you lie down on your back.
Causes And Symptoms Of Varicocele Pain
The spermatic cord transfers blood to and from the testes. The precise causative factor for varicocele and pain of varicocele is not known; however, experts state that the condition develops when the valves inside the veins in the spermatic cord inhibit the blood from flowing correctly. Pooling of blood happens and the veins widen.
Varicoceles frequently develop during puberty. They are commoner on the left side, most likely due to the position of the left testicular vein. Nevertheless, varicocele in one testicle affects the production of sperms in both testes.
Varicocele Pain Symptoms
In a large number of people having varicocele, there are no presenting symptoms; however, in some cases, there may be some degree of pain and discomfort:
- The pain of varicocele varies from dull discomfort to heaviness to excruciating.
- The pain increases when you stand, sit, or after heavy physical exertion, more so, over long intervals of time.
- Worsens as the day progresses.
- Gets ameliorated when you lie on your back.
With time, a varicocele may increase in size and become more obvious.
Treatment Options For Varicocele Pain
First and foremost your health care provider will carry out a physical examination, which may show a twisted, non-tender form above the testicle. If it’s large, your doctor will be able to feel it. If it’s small, your doctor will ask you to stand, take a deep breath and hold it while you bear down. This helps the doctor perceive abnormal enlargement of the veins.
If the examination is unconvincing, the physician will order an ultrasound of the scrotum.
Treatment for varicocele may not be needed. On the other hand, if the condition causes pain, atrophy of the testes or infertility, you need to undergo varicocele surgical repair. The surgery seals off the impaired vein to reroute the flow of blood in to normal veins. Though, the effect of varicocele surgical repair on fertility is rather ambiguous.
While varicoceles characteristically occur in adolescence, it is less clear whether you should have surgical repair at that time. Indications for surgery in adolescence are pain, progressive atrophy of the testicle, or abnormal semen analysis results.
If you have a varicocele that causes some degree of discomfort but does not affect fertility, you could try this for pain relief:
- Take over-the-counter analgesics, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
- You should put on an athletic supporter to allay pressure.