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Varicocele Causes and Treatments

By Justin DiMateo

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Male infertility is troubling for many couples who have the ultimate goal of conceiving. Common reasons for male infertility include problems with semen or sperm, such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility or also known as low quality sperm.

However, determining the causes of these problems is often the first step in overcoming these symptoms. One possible cause of male infertility is varicocele, which is an irregular enlargement of the veins in the testicles. They are similar to varicose veins that occur in the legs.

This condition may lead to poor sperm quality and may inhibit sperm production. However, it is important to remember that not all cases of varicocele affect sperm production.

Some men may even experience a shrinking of the testicles as a result of this condition. The condition is generally easily diagnosed and treatments do exist to relieve any symptoms.

The spermatic cord carries blood to and from the testicles and although the exact cause of varicocele is not fully understood, many believe that inefficiencies in the valves in this cord prevent blood from flowing freely. Like in varicose veins in the legs, this causes blood to become backed up, which leads to the expansion of the vein and its enlarged appearance.

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The condition, in many cases, forms during puberty and is most common on the left side probably because of the left testicular vein's position. Sperm production may be affected in both testicles even if the varicocele occurs on just one side.

Varicocele may lead to dull to sharp pains that may worsen over the course of the day. The pain may increase when sitting, standing or during periods of physical exertion.

Patients with this condition may feel relief when lying on their back. The condition may enlarge overtime and become more noticeable, which may be embarrassing for some.

While some cases of varicocele may not require treatment, those experiencing symptoms such as pain, infertility or shrinking of the testicles may turn to treatment for relief. The risks associated with procedures to correct this condition include the buildup of fluid around the testicles, damage to an artery and recurrence of the condition.

Open surgery is the most common method of male infertility treatment, and is usually performed on an outpatient basis. The surgeon usually makes an incision around the groin, but may also approach the vein through the abdomen or below the groin.

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Laparoscopic surgery and percutaneous embolization, which involves the release of coils or balloons to form a blockage in testicular veins and interrupt blood flow to repair the varicocele, are also performed.

Online Resources: Visit for more information and treatment

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Learn About the Treatment and Causes of Varicocele  

Fidn out more about the condition known as varicocele, male infetility and treatments for a successful pregnancy

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