Learn About Varicocele
Learn about varicocele causes, symptoms, diagnosis, surgery, & natural treatment.
NEW! Varicocele Pain Relief Guide.
What is a Varicocele?
A varicocele is simply swollen testicle veins. Just like swollen veins in the legs, the veins draining from the scrotum can also become swollen. As it turns out, varicocele is very common and is a major cause of male infertility.
You may read that varicocele is the result of venous insufficiency. This simply means that the veins were unable to circulate the blood.
It is commonly thought that varicocele is caused by the defective or missing vein valves that prevent backward blood flow, however there is only weak evidence supporting this, and the majority of individuals with varicocele have normal valves.
When blood does not circulate well, it pools, and causes excess pressure on the vein walls, and stretches them. Swollen testicular veins are refereed to as a varicocele. Varicoceles are very similar to hemorrhoids, varicose veins, and spider veins.
A varicocele can be small and only visible via ultrasound, or palpable (able to be touched or felt), and feels like a bag of worms inside the scrotum.
About 10-25% of men have a varicocele. For every 10 years of age, varicocele incidence increases by about 10%. This means that about 20% of 20 year olds have varicocele, 30% of 30 year olds, 40% of 40 year olds... and almost 80% of 80 year olds. Varicocele incidence and severity increases with age.
Varicocele is the #1 cause of male infertility. About 40-60% of male infertility is caused by varicocele.
Varicocele has been thought to be symptomless, but is now known to also negatively effect testosterone levels.
Generally symptoms worsen with age, which is why it is important to treat varicocele in its early stages. View my blog for some great information on varicocele natural treatments.
What Causes Varicocele?
Despite the popular belief that faulty valves cause varicocele (which is False), current scientific knowledge states that a complex of risk increasing factors cause varicocele to develop. This means that many factors are contribute to the development of varicocele and its symptoms.
Simply, this means that there are many factors responsible for varicocele and that surgery merely addresses the symptom of faulty valves, and that is why it is ineffective in many cases.
These risk increasing factors relate to impairment of blood flow, increased pressure in the torso and an excess production of vasodilators. You can read the preview of the The Complete Guide to Natural Healing of Varicocele for more information on the causes of varicocele and how to treat them naturally without surgery, visit the varicocele healing blog, or continue reading for more details.
Two common causes that elevate pressure in the testicular veins are the Nutcracker effect, and how the left testicular vein connects to the renal vein at a 90-degree angle.
The Nutcracker effect describes how the left renal vein is compressed in the torso. This compression impairs circulation in the renal vein which forces blood to pool in the varicocele. The 90-degree entry angle creates fluid pressure that then backs up blood. These two anatomical features increase blood pressure in the veins.
Testicular veins are not anatomically designed to take high blood pressure, therefore the Nutcracker effect and the 90-degree entry cause veins to stretch and become varicose. These are two major contributors to the discrepancy between left- and right- sided varicocele prevalence (80% left-sided, 2% right-sided, 18% bilateral). However there are many other contributors to varicocele development.
What are the Symptoms of a Varicocele?
When blood pools in the varicocele, it causes excess heat, hyper-hydration, oxidation, toxin build up, and depletion of nutrients, resulting in many negative side effects. The major side effects are enlarged veins, pain, decreased fertility, scrotal sag, testicular shrinkage, and decreased testosterone. Many people experience some of the following symptoms as well: Embarrassment, gynecomastia, erectile dysfunction, weak or quickly lost erections, low sex drive, decreased masculinity, low motivation, decreased muscle tone, infertility, and increased estrogen.
Varicocele and Male Fertility
About one in four people with varicocele experience fertility problems. That is about 2-4% of the population. The main parameters used for assessing fertility are sperm count, volume, morphology, and motility, as well as sperm DNA damage, and testicular volume. Varicocele negatively effects all these parameters.
Varicocele can also cause a decrease in testosterone levels, leading to lowered sexual performance and slight feminization of the body and mind (e.g., enlargement of breast tissue, erectile dysfunction, passivity and decrease assertiveness).
Lower testicular volume is common in those diagnosed with a varicocele. Testicular volume is normally greater than 15 cm³. Varicocele causes an average decrease of 5 cm³ in volume on the affected side. Notably, the unaffected side may also shrink because of the disruption of normal hormone production in the effected side. Higher grade and bilateral varicoceles cause the biggest decrease in volume, and have the most sever symptoms.
Recommended Reading: General Advice for Naturally Treating Varicocele.
Varicocele Diagnosis and Grading
The standard way to diagnose varicoceles is by physical examination. Depending on grade, the patient may be standing, laying down or performing the Valsalva maneuver. Palpation of the scrotum by a trained physician can detect varicocele.
Varicocele Treatment Methods
Currently, only two options exist for natural varicocele treatment: Surgery OR natural treatment. Many people turn away from surgery because it is costly, and has many risks. Moreover, many people who undergo surgery re-develop varicocele, continue experiencing pain, and do not experience fertility improvements.
The alternative option is natural varicocele treatment. Natural treatments can be very effective because they address many issues that surgery neglects. Surgery addresses the symptom of faulty valves/swollen veins, while natural treatment aims to address the root cause of the problem.
Comparing Varicocele Repair Methods
Varicocele surgery is meant to stop the backward blood flow that makes varicocele develop. This is done by killing off the veins that circulate the blood. Typically a single, non-varicose vein is left open to allow for continued blood flow.
Surgical treatment methods include: Subinguinal (incision made in upper scrotum), inguinal (incision made in groin area), retroperitoneal (incision made in lower abdomen), laparoscopy (surgery using a camera, incision made in groin or abdominal area), radiologic (also called embolization, where valves are sealed off using metal coils, then killed using chemical, incision made in groin). In all cases, an incision is made and the varicose veins are killed off.
Surgery Risks and Cost
Though surgery is effective at treating varicocele, it is often unnecessary and comes with several risks. Aside from the possibility of losing a testicle and the scarring from the incision, varicocele re-develops as much as 30% of cases, normally there is no testicular hypertrophy (no size regain), and much of the time normal fertility does not resume. That is not to mention that surgery literally involves killing your veins (which do not regrow). Moreover, varicocele surgery usually costs about $10,000 and even with insurance can still cost over $1,000.
Natural Varicocele Treatments
For more information and some examples of exercises you can perform, you can view my blog or get in touch with me directly (please be very detailed with your message). I highly recommend getting The Complete Guide to Natural Healing of Varicocele. Not because I wrote it, but because it fully details all of the most effective varicocele natural treatment options. It is the most comprehensive guide on varicocele natural treatment that exists. It will help you. You can also read my story and how I fully recovered from my massive golf ball sized varicocele.
UPDATE: You can also learn more about Varicocele Pain on my new website: www.varicocelepainrelief.com.
The Complete Guide to Natural Healing of Varicocele has over 100 treatments for curing pain, improving fertility, normalizing hormones, increasing sex drive, undoing testicular atrophy, and most importantly, how to heal those nasty swollen testicle veins. It is a massive compilation of the best natural treatment options. It is literally the best alternative to surgery that exists.
Learn more about the healing guide, or get started now!