What are varicoceles? Can they cause infertility and what treatment do you need?

What are varicoceles? Can they cause infertility and what treatment do you need?

While a couple is planning to conceive they might have trouble, which can occur due to some underlying health issue or infertility. It is high time that we understand the reason is not always female infertility. In around 30% of the cases, the problem is diagnosed as male infertility which can occur due to different reasons like poor semen analysis, low sperm count, poor sperm motility, and much more. Here we are going to refer to one of the problems with a male which is referred to as varicocele.

What are varicoceles?

A varicocele is a condition when a vein present inside the scrotum will get enlarged. As per the stats, around 10 to 15 men have this condition. It is important to get the treatment for the same as it can lead to infertility, which we will further discuss on this topic.

What are the varicoceles symptoms?

In most cases, the problem does not lead to any symptoms but letting it untreated can create a problem when you try to conceive. Usually, the problem occurs on the left side of the scrotum. Due to this condition, the vein’s valve which helps the blood flow to reach the heart will have trouble which creates blood pooling in that area. The problem can lead to increased swelling, infertility, pain, and the testicular can shrink.

What are the causes of varicoceles?

Although, it is not certain why this condition happens. Usually, the initial signs are noticed during puberty and mostly it occurs between the age of 15 to 30.

In case you are overweight, then you are at increased risk of getting varicocele.

Can varicocele lead to infertility?

If you are trying to start a family and you have varicocele then there will be problems. With this condition, there is an increased risk of:

  • Low sperm count

The sperm in the body can only survive when the body temperature is low. However, with varicocele, the temperature of that specific area is affected, especially where sperm is present. Eventually, the problem leads to reduced sperm production.

  • Low sperm motility

When the temperature increases, it will impact the capability and speed at which the sperm travels.

  • Damaged sperm DNA

Due to varicocele, the reactive oxygen is going to increase which leads to mutation changes and membrane.

What are the ways to diagnose varicocele?

  • Physical test

In case, the varicocele is big then the doctor will perform a physical test which helps to check the non-tender mass present above the testicle on the right side.

  • Scrotal ultrasound

After the physical examination, the doctor can perform a scrotal ultrasound to look for vein enlargement. This is a non-invasive method.

What are the treatment options for varicocele?

  • Laparoscopic varicocelectomy

It helps to check the affected vein, and these are tied up with clips. This method is known for boosting sperm motility. It takes around 1 hour and there is less downtime.

  • Microsurgical varicocelectomy

Almost the same as the above one but with a microscope it is done and then the varicoceles are clipped. The success rate is extremely high and it takes around 1 hour to perform and recovery takes around 3 weeks.

  • Varicocele embolization

It is less invasive and mostly it is done to reduce the pain and it helps the blood to flow away from the varicocele.

Wrap up!

You need to make sure that you consult the doctor and then determine what treatment plan will suit you the best. If you are having any doubts, then make sure to book your initial consultation at the Sofat Infertility center.