Varicocele and Fertility

Jan 15, 2015 0 Comments in Infertility by
Varicocele and Fertility

Varicocele and Fertility

A varicocele is an enlarged, tortuous varicose vein that drains testicles within the spermatic cord. One theory that claims a relationship between vericocele and fertility says that it is an abnormal dilation of veins in the scrotum that often occurs in the left testicle and raises testicular temperature, thus affecting sperm.

Varicocele Symptoms

Reasons for Testicular Pain ImageWhile most varicoceles are asymptomatic, they can sometimes cause dull, congestive scrotal pain and be extremely uncomfortable. A man may experience varicocele from lifestyle habits, such as sitting or standing for longer periods of time. It is a common among men with fertility issues. Though the mechanism of a varicocele affecting fertility of both testicles isn’t clearly understood, research is under way to clearly establish a relationship between varicocele and infertility. One theory is that temperature in the scrotum is considerably cooler than the entire body temperature. However, dilated veins may reduce efficiency of the natural cooling mechanism, thus resulting in overheating of the testis. As a result the ability of the testis may be compromised.

– Pain: Pain in testicles, especially while prolonged sitting, standing, or exercising, standing. Painful varicoceles are known to be prominent in size.

– Infertility: If left untreated, the condition could result in fertility problems. Vericocele is related to decreased motility of sperm, reduced sperm count, and increased deformed sperm count in the body. Medical experts are of the opinion that blocked, enlarged veins in the scrotum may raise its temperature and affect the process of sperm production, thus causing infertility.

– Testicular atrophy: In some men, testicles may shrink, which is a sign of vericoceles.

Epididymitis Treatment Options ImageVericocele Diagnosis

A doctor may conduct a physical examination to diagnose varicoceles. Exercise and prolonged standing may also demonstrate a varicocele. About 95 percent of varicoceles are detected on the left testicle in the scrotum. Though simple to detect through physical examination, varicoceles may be diagnosed through noninvasive imaging exam, also known as color flow ultrasound. The doctor may use an X-ray to detect blood vessel abnormalities. Vericocele may also be diagnosed using ultrasound, thermography, or scintigraphy.

Vericocele Treatment

When it comes to vericocele treatment, there are surgical and nonsurgical options.

Nono-surgical/ catheter-directed embolization: Performed by an interventional radiologist using catheters, this non-surgical technique involves making a tiny nick into the groin skin through the catheter passes. The doctor injects a contrast dye to map out the problem area. Following this, they inject coils/sclerosants to make the blood vessel shrink and block blood supply to dysfunctional veins. The method is used to treat symptomatic varicoceles, and the patient remains relaxed and pain-free throughout the procedure.

Surgical procedure: Surgical ligation is performed by a urologist. The procedure involves making a surgical incision in the skin in testicular veins to block blood supply. Patients of open surgical ligation need at least a recovery period of about two to three weeks.