I’ve gotten well over 25-30 questions about Varicocele in 2023, so I wanted to do an article about it because it’s more common than you’d think.
It typically affects about 15% of adult males and around 20% of adolescent males and teenagers.
And I’ll even share with you my own personal story about this in a couple of minutes. Something that I’ve only told about 3-4 people. So make sure you keep reading.
What Is Varicocele?
First, Varicocele is basically “scrotum varicose veins”. It’s an enlargement of the veins within the scrotum.
So, it’s similar to regular varicose veins you have, typically seen on the legs for example. And at the end of today’s article, I’ll give you a link to another article specifically about treating varicose veins.
Varicocele can be a more serious problem because it can cause low sperm production, decreased sperm quality, and mobility, which can cause infertility.
It can also cause lowered testosterone levels due to a decrease in testicular size.
In fact, Varicocele is present in up to 45% of men with primary infertility and up to a whopping 80% of men with secondary infertility.
What Causes Varicocele?
Basically, blood isn’t moving through the veins as it should, so there’s a build-up of blood. Unfortunately, there is no specific reason or cause for Varicocele.
However, in a minute I’ll give you options for preventing and fixing it.
Symptoms of Varicocele?
As far as the symptoms, there may not be any associated with it directly, but you may feel
- Swelling in your scrotum
- A lump in one of your testicles
- You may see really large veins or twisted veins in your scrotum. Some describe it like a bag of worms.
- A dull pain, recurring or consistent
How To Diagnose Varicocele
So at this point, some of you may be touching your testicles and thinking, “hmm…. I think I may have Varicocele” … but, how would you know for sure?
Well, you’d go to your doctor and they can diagnose it. A general practitioner is fine, but a urologist is an ideal physician you want to see, if possible.
They can diagnose with a physical exam or if they’re not sure, a scrotal ultrasound will give a definitive answer.
How To Treat Varicocele
As far as treatments, you may not have to, especially if your sperm production is fine or you’re not trying to get anyone pregnant.
However, if you have discomfort, pain or your testicles have shrunk, then I think it would be a good idea. Especially if you have lower testosterone levels.
My PERSONAL Story
Now, as to how it should be treated or fixed – let me quickly share with you what happened to me.
I was in 5th grade, so I was about 10 years old since I was younger than the other kids in the same grade. I remember walking into class, sitting down, and slowly I started to feel pain in my testicles. Within the next hour, the pain intensified. I could hardly sit down.
It was summertime because I remember I was wearing shorts.
The pain became so bad that I just got up and walked out of class.
I had to take short, slow steps.
I think the teacher asked, “Sammy, where are you going?…”
But I was in so much pain that I just zoned out and I started walking home. I didn’t even think about going to the nurse or telling anyone, because it was in my testicles and I felt weird or embarrassed.
Luckily, my home was about 3-4 blocks away. Not far. Typically, a 10-15 walk.
But not that day. I could barely walk. It took me like a freakin HOUR to get home. One small step at a time.
When I got home I told my mom.
Of course, she said, “oh my god, let me see”.
I refused. Again, I was embarrassed.
I just said, “please take me to the hospital.”
Of course, like any good mother – she freaks out, got her purse, and we sped off to the hospital.
To make a long story short, the doctor had said that my veins in my scrotum had not only enlarged, but they got tangled up and that’s why I was in so much pain.
He said there are two options.
- Have surgery, which is recommended.
- Ice my testicles for the next few days, not move much and see what happens.
Well, the last thing any young guy wants is a knife around these balls. So, I opted for the ice. And the truth is, I don’t think we had money to even do surgery since we were broke.
So, ice it was.
I went home and lay on the couch for the next week, icing my testicles daily. On and off, on and off.
And luckily, things healed, the swelling went down, the veins untangled, and I was fixed. No surgery and I got to stay home from school.
Luckily, I haven’t had any issues since.f
And thus, the treatment in such a severe case like mine is typically surgery, especially if you’re older. I guess I was lucky that the ice worked.
Needless to say, surgery is the primary fix.
However, as stated, surgery is only “medically” necessary if you’re in pain or if you’re trying to have a child and show low sperm production due to the Varicocele.
So there you have it – you know something about me that I’ve only shared with 3-4 people in my life.
And before I end this article make sure you view my other article “How To Prevent, Reduce & Erase Varicose Veins”.