Varicoceles (Adult)

A varicocele is a condition characterized by the enlargement and dilation of the veins within the scrotum, which is the sac that contains the testicles. It is similar to varicose veins that can occur in the legs. Varicoceles most commonly develop on the left side of the scrotum but can also occur on the right side or bilaterally (both sides). Varicoceles are more common in adolescents and adult men and are often benign, but they can occasionally cause discomfort, fertility problems, or other complications.


  • The exact cause of varicoceles is not fully understood, but they are often associated with abnormalities in the blood vessels or valves within the testicular veins.
  • Increased pressure in the veins due to standing for long periods or heavy lifting can contribute to the development of varicoceles.


  • Many varicoceles do not cause noticeable symptoms and may only be detected during a routine physical examination.
  • Some men may experience discomfort or pain in the scrotum, especially when standing or sitting for extended periods.


  • A healthcare provider or urologist can diagnose a varicocele through physical examination, usually by feeling the enlarged veins in the scrotum while the patient is standing.
  • Ultrasound imaging might be used to confirm the diagnosis and assess the severity of the varicocele.

Effects on Fertility

  • Varicoceles can affect sperm quality and fertility. The increased blood flow and higher temperatures in the testicular veins can lead to changes in the testicular environment, potentially affecting sperm production and function.
  • Not all men with varicoceles will experience fertility problems, but they are more commonly found in men with fertility issues.


  • Treatment for varicoceles is recommended if they cause significant discomfort, affect fertility, or lead to testicular atrophy (shrinkage).
  • Surgical Repair: One common treatment is a surgical procedure called varicocelectomy. This involves tying off or blocking the enlarged veins to redirect blood flow to healthier veins. The procedure can be performed through open surgery or minimally invasive techniques.
  • Embolization: Another approach is to block the affected veins using a catheter that is guided to the site of the varicocele through a blood vessel.
  • Treatment may not be necessary if the varicocele is not causing problems and does not affect fertility.


The prognosis for varicocele treatment is generally good, and surgery or other interventions can improve symptoms, fertility, and overall comfort.

If you suspect you have a varicocele or are experiencing discomfort, pain, or fertility issues related to your scrotum, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider or a urologist. They can diagnose the condition and recommend appropriate treatment options based on your specific situation and needs.

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