Exercising with Varicocele(s)
How to make exercising less stressful & more therapeutic for varicocele.
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Mr. Daniel Johnson, B.Sc.
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Microtruama from Groin Protectors
Microtrauma: Repeated minor physical hits to a region that over time adds up to inflammation and real physical damage.
Any sport or activity that places pressure on the groin, scrotum, or perineum typically accompanies microtrauma risks.
These sports or activities include but are not limited to biking/cycling, motorbiking, sledding, horseback riding, long-duration masturbation, even sex, and to a much lower degree, almost all sports.
Moreover, any sport that requires you to wear a groin protector or cup puts additional pressure on the inguinal region, bumping into and irritating the area. The inguinal irritation is why many men who play soccer or cricket or practice martial arts experience varicocele and testicular pain.
Hyperthermia from Groin Protectors
Hyperthermia: The term for overheating of the body is hyperthermia.
One of the major contributors to varicocele is hyperthermia. While most sports and physical activity increase scrotal temperature, the testicles can quickly vent and cool. Groin protectors, on the other hand, trap too much heat, significantly increasing the associated risks.
How to Better Manage It - 3 Essential Tips
When it comes to managing the associated risks of wearing a groin protector, three things are essential:
1. Cooling Treatments
After exercising, make sure to run cold water over your scrotum, perineum, and inguinal regions. Cooling alleviates general inflammation and blood pooling, and also promotes recovery.
2. Better Product
If possible, avoid wearing groin protectors in general. However, you risk a blunt injury to the testicles with sports like cricket and soccer, and using a groin protector can be essential. So, when possible, follow these tips:
3. Managing General Exercise Risk
Follow the pre-, during-, and post-exercise precations and treatments that we recommend on our Exercising with Varicocele blog.
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Exercise The Wrong Way = Testicular Damage
Look guys, these DOs & DON'Ts for weight lifting and exercising with varicocele WILL HELP. You don't have to follow all of it, but really get the idea: All of these tips help, independent of exercise type, be it:
✓DO A cool shower before a workout helps (but is not necessary)
✗Don’t No masturbation for minimum 2-3 hours pre-workout
✗Don’t No working out on a full stomach (give minimum 1-2 hours to digest)
✓DO Cooling underwear like STUD Briefs
✓DO Promote muscle balance and posture with your workout
✗Don’t No tight belts
✗Don’t No tight pants (around waist or crotch)
✗Don’t No tight underwear (unless specifically designed for varicocele)
✗Don’t No protein shakes or energy drinks during exercise
✓DO Stretch to promote muscular mobility (especially hip mobility)
✓DO Perform yoga inversion exercises to improve testicular blood circulation and cooling
✓DO A cooling shower post-workout is almost mandatory. Ideally, take a full-body cool shower (no discomfort required)
✗Don’t Shove your testicles into hot heat-trapping underwear and pants for hours
But... The Most Important Things to Consider:
Poor lifestyle habits like smoking, alcohol consumption, coffee, poor posture, excessive setting, and many other controllable varicocele risk factors also play a major role in varicocele development.
You must also consider varicocele treatment as top priority. Visit our Treatments page to learn about your treatment options.
Can You Exercise With Varicocele?
Question: "What all exercise can be performed in the gym or otherwise if one has grade 3 varicocele? Also, what all activities to avoid at all costs? Is running allowed?"
You can only exercise at the gym with varicocele IF you follow specific precautions. Typically, most activity types are "high risk" and can both worsen varicocele, and varicocele symptoms. This includes running, biking, weight lifting, martial arts, basketball, volleyball, sports, etc. So, we need to be smart when it comes to exercising, and follow specific precautions, some of which I'll cover in this blog post. For a complete list of exactly what precautions to follow, and all of the most important lifestyle changes and at home treatments for varicocele, get the Varicocele Healing Guide.
1. Postural Imbalance
Postural imbalances typically worsen the nutcracker effect and increase blood pooling because they pressurize and prevent blood from leaving the testicles to go back to the heart. Always work on improving your posture! This means open up your chest, shoulders, and improve both spinal and hip alignment.
Does improving posture help? Yes. It helps immensely.
2. Hip Flexor Tightness
Hip flexor tightness is a result of excessive sitting, and then a lack of corrective exercises during activity. Hip flexor tightness increases varicocele swelling in a similar manner to the nutcracker effect. It compresses the blood vessels and impairs blood leaving the testicles.
Many people have tight and weak hip flexors and will benefit from regular stretching and strengthening. This helps a specific subset of men.
3. Overheating of the Testicles
When your testicles overheat, your varicocele swelling increases significantly. It is especially important for exercise to maximally cool your testicles. This means wearing proper underwear during exercise, and taking a cool shower after exercise.
4. Poor Exercise Technique: Increased Blood Pooling
So, your main concern during exercise is varicocele toxic blood pooling. Varicocele toxic blood pooling results in increased testicular temperature, and toxicity build-up. So, in order to make exercising okay, we must make the right adjustments to both minimize any varicocele toxic blood pooling, and treat any toxicities that arise from it.
Perfecting your exercise technique makes a big difference in preventing varicocele toxic blood pooling. You can read this free article on the topic: Varicocele: Posture & Exercise Technique
While most exercise types can be a risk factor for varicocele swelling, and symptoms, there is a lot that you can do to make them more therapeutic and less stressful for varicocele.
Want to treat your varicocele without surgery? Learn more about varicocele natural treatment >
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