Varicoceles are a network of large veins that drain blood from the testicles. Similar to varicose veins in the leg, they usually develop in the scrotum on the left side during or after puberty. Although most cases of varicoceles appear in the left testicle, they can affect sperm production in both. Varicoceles do not resolve on their own once they develop, and treatment options will vary from patient to patient, depending on the accompanying symptoms.
Many patients do not experience any symptoms from varicoceles, but when present symptoms can include:
- Varying degrees of pain, especially during certain movements
- Swelling in the scrotum
- Testicular atrophy
- Abnormal or insufficient sperm production in one or both testicles
- Slower or limited growth in affected testicle
What Causes Varicoceles?
The exact cause of varicoceles is not clear, but a potential cause is believed to be a malfunction in the valves of the scrotal veins, causing irregular blood flow that pools and causes the veins to dilate (become enlarged). Some experts also speculate that the positioning of the vein leading from the kidney to the scrotum allows for stronger gravitational pull than on the right side.
When to See a Urologist for Treatment
Many men suffering from varicoceles do not experience symptoms, and as such, are unaware of their condition. In the absence of symptoms, they are typically discovered during routine physical examinations. However patients should seek medical attention in cases where pain persists, the testicles appear to be significantly different in size, there is a mass, or if experiencing problems with fertility.
Candidates for Varicocelectomy
After a comprehensive physical exam as well as imaging and lab tests, your urologist will help determine whether a varicocelectomy is the best course of action. The surgeon will make an incision in the groin and cut the veins responsible for the irregular blood flow and pooling that causes the varicoceles.
Varicocelectomy is a minimally invasive procedure, and patients typically go home the same day of the procedure.
Recovery from a varicocelectomy typically involves pain medication, and avoiding strenuous physical activity for several weeks after the procedure.
Urology Surgery Los Angeles
If you are suffering or suspect to be suffering from varicoceles, contact a skilled urologist in Los Angeles today for an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment options. The experts at Comprehensive Urology have decades of combined experience. Call (310) 499-2756 today to schedule a consultation or comprehensive exam.