All about Varicocele and its treatment
The scrotum contains veins and arteries to help with the supply of blood to your other reproductive glands. When these veins (known as Pampiniform plexus) swell and becomes larger, the condition is referred to as a varicocele. The condition occurs in the scrotum. It can be like the varicose veins that one gets in their legs. A varicocele is often situated above your left testicle, although it might as well show up on the right one. Most varicoceles are visible while you stand up but usually disappear when one lies down. While a varicocele is harmless, it can at times get painful or uncomfortable. Varicoceles may also reduce your sperm quality, not to mention causing low sperm production. Consequently, this might lead to infertility. It is important to note, however, that varicoceles may not always affect sperm production.
Another effect of varicoceles is that they can lead to the shrinking of your testicles. Alternatively, they could interfere with the normal development of testicles. A varicocele might take time to develop. They are common in males between 15 and 25 years, but can also affect older males. The good thing with varicocele is that they are easier to diagnose. Moreover, most varicoceles are harmless, meaning that treatment is not always necessary. However, in case a varicocele is painful or causes other uncomfortable symptoms, you can have it repaired by undergoing a surgical procedure.
Causes of varicoceles
The actual cause of varicoceles is not yet very clear. Nonetheless, many experts are convinced that a varicocele develops due to a dysfunctional valve inside the spermatic cord.
Each of your testicles is held in place by a spermatic cord. The spermatic cord has a rich supply of arteries, veins, and nerves. The presence of valves in the veins ensures that blood continues to pump towards the heart and that there is no backflow. In the case of a dysfunctional valve in your spermatic cord, it means that such a valve will not close as it ought to. This will therefore lead to blood back up, and a dilation of the veins. The ensuing condition is called a varicocele. Your testicles might get damaged due to the backflow of blood. This may, in turn, affect sperm production and fertility.
The development of varicoceles in teenage boys is mainly attributed to the rapid growth that characterizes puberty. During this period, the testicles require extra blood to ensure normal growth and development. In the case of dysfunctional valves in the veins, this means that the blood may not get where development is required. There are no significant risk factors that could predispose you to develop a varicocele. While a varicocele is rarely associated with any complications, it can, nonetheless, lead to:
- Infertility: If you develop a varicocele, this may lead to high temperatures in and around, and inside your testicles. Consequently, the high temperatures will affect sperm motility, production, and function
- Atrophy: A varicocele can cause shrinking and softening of the testicle. This may be due to the malfunctioning valve that permits the collection of blood in the veins. As a result, the veins come under increased pressure. They are also exposed to toxins in the blood which can result in testicular damage.
What are the symptoms of a varicocele?
A varicocele rarely manifests any symptoms. For this reason, you are likely to have the condition even without knowing it. The only time when having a varicocele may become apparent is while undergoing a routine physical exam, or you encounter problems with your fertility. The symptoms of a varicocele usually manifest themselves after sitting or standing for long periods. They may also occur after heavy exercise. Some of the signs of a varicocele include:
- An ache in your testicle/s, albeit a dull one
- You are likely to experience a dragging or heaviness feeling in the scrotum
- The veins in your scrotum get dilated. The veins in your scrotal sac might look or feel like spaghetti. Other health experts have described these as looking like a bag of worms
- There is a feeling of discomfort on the affected scrotum
- The affected testicle is smaller in size. This is as a result of a difference in the flow of blood, caused by the dilated veins
A varicocele seldom causes any pain. When it does, such pain:
- Tends to range from dull to sharp, and it may get uncomfortable
- Exacerbates upon physical exertion or on standing. This is likely to happen after standing for long periods
- Is mild in the morning but worsens with time
- Subsides after one lies down on their back
- Might affect your fertility
Diagnosing a varicocele vein
It is recommended to have your testicles examined regularly as this will help to detect any problems early enough. A testicular exam can also help to diagnose a varicocele that rarely manifests in observable symptoms. During a testicular exam, your GP will often check for unusual bumps or lumps on your testicles. During a testicular exam, your GP will carefully feel the area around your testicles and the testicles in themselves. This is to ascertain that there are no symptoms and that your testicles are in good shape.
Your GP will often request that you stand up while conducting a testicular exam this way, your scrotum is more at ease. It, therefore, becomes easier to feel a varicocele from a standing position. The doctor will be interested in checking the weight, position, and size of your testicles.
To check for any swelling or lumps on your testicles, the doctor will need to gently roll a testicle in a forward and backward motion, each testicle at a time. While this might feel like an uncomfortable or embarrassing experience, your doctor will do their very best to put you at ease. Your doctor may also feel your epididymis to check for any sign of tenderness. The epididymis is a narrow tune whose job is to transport sperms from your testicles.
As part of the physical exam, your doctor may also have to examine the spermatic cord. The goal is to determine if there is any swelling to it. If your doctor has a reason to believe that you have a varicocele, she or he may also deem it necessary to order an ultrasound. This test helps to determine the flow of blood into your testicles. Ultrasound also allows your doctor to determine if the veins are in good working condition.
Treating a varicocele
Most varicoceles do not require any form of treatment. The only time when treatment is recommended is in case it leads to persistent discomfort and pain. A varicocele may also cause infertility, and in such a case, treatment is also recommended. Before recommending a surgical procedure, your doctor will first explore other kinds of treatment, such as prescribing anti-inflammatory medication. Your doctor may also recommend wearing a jockstrap or snug underwear.
Should these methods fail, surgery becomes the only option to correct the problem. Varicocele surgery is intended to seal off the part of the vein that has been affected. Additionally, surgery will promote redirecting the flow of blood back into the normal veins. If a varicocele has resulted in male infertility, a surgical procedure will assist in curing or improving infertility. Moreover, surgery can also enhance the quality of sperm by incorporating other techniques like in vitro fertilization. While treating a varicocele contributes towards improved sperm quality, there is no indication yet that if a varicocele is left untreated, it will lead to declined sperm quality.
Like all other surgeries, varicoceles repair is associated with several risks. Some of these risks include:
- Hydrocele-This is the accumulation of fluid around your testicles
- Varicoceles may recur
- An artery could get damaged during the procedure
Some of the repair methods for varicoceles include:
The procedure takes place in an outpatient facility under local or general anesthesia. Your surgeon makes an incision on your groin to allow him or her access to the affected vein. The inclusion of a surgical microscope during open surgery helps to minimize post-surgical complications. This is because the surgeon has a better view of the area under treatment. Besides, the procedure has the highest success rate in comparison with the other open surgery procedures. Your surgeon may also decide to use Doppler ultrasound. The instrument guides the surgeon during the procedure. You will experience mild pain after surgery for several days. The pain might persist for a few weeks post-surgery. Your surgeon will often prescribe medication to relieve such pain.
The procedure entails inserting a tube through the groin and into a vein in the scrotum. The urologist gets to view your enlarged veins on a screen courtesy of a camera attached to the tube. Thereafter, the doctor releases a solution or coils into the testicular veins to cause blockage. There is a resultant interruption of blood flow and the varicocele gets repaired.
This surgery takes place under general anesthesia. During the procedure, the surgeon will make an incision in your abdomen. He or she will then insert a tiny instrument via the incision. This allows your surgeon to take a careful look at the varicocele and repair it.
The laser procedure to correct a varicocele uses laser energy. Compared to open surgery, laser surgery is painless and there is no blood loss involved. It also spares you from the cuts and stitches often associated with open surgery. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and can even be conducted in your surgeon’s office. Recovery is also quick and you can even resume your normal duties within 2 days post-surgery. For these reasons, laser surgery is preferred to other surgical procedures to correct varicoceles.
Post-op care and diet
After surgery, your surgeon will most likely recommend that you take as much rest as possible after varicocele surgery. After 24 hours, you are encouraged to take a walk each day, as this will promote improved blood flow. This will also contribute to a faster recovery. Two days after the procedure, you are encouraged to take a liquid diet as this is easily digestible. Wound care is also important, in case of open surgery, to promote faster healing. You must not engage in any strenuous activities such as weight lifting or riding a bicycle. Aerobic exercise is also not recommended, at least until your doctor gives you the go-ahead. With open surgery, full recovery may take up to 3 weeks.
A light diet is recommended, at least during the first week post-surgery. Some people are likely to present with stomach upset. You are also likely to feel a bit nauseated. This is quite normal and is attributed to the anesthesia your surgeon used during the procedure. While your doctor may not restrict you from eating anything, try as much as possible to consume light food. Aim for a healthy diet as well.
Wound care is important to avoid bleeding from the incision. This can be minimized by regularly replacing the dressing. In case you feel any discomfort, you are advised to elevate the scrotal area. This promotes the improved flow of blood into your scrotum, thereby reducing swelling and pain.
Avoid wearing tight clothing as this can cause irritation. Wearing scrotal support or jockstrap may also help to reduce the pressure on your scrotal region. If the pain gets severe or there is excessive bleeding from the wound, call your surgeon immediately.
Varicoceles occur when the veins (pampiniform plexus veins) inside your scrotum (the pouch that holds the testicles) become enlarged. They are similar to varicose veins and usually occurs between the ages of 15 to 25 in males. Varicocele is generally non-symptomatic but may cause slow growth of the testicle (generally the left testicle) during puberty. It may cause male infertility in the future and may need immediate medical attention. Varicocele treatment requires varicocele repair and sealing of the affected veins.
Benefits of Varicocele Surgery in Bangalore
- Experienced support staff
- Affordable cost
- Minimal side effects
- Full recovery
- Maximum recovery time is 3 weeks
Why use goficure for the treatment of varicocele in Bangalore?
There are many top hospitals and clinics in Bangalore that offer varicocele treatment. If you are looking for specialized doctors and surgeons for varicocele repair in Bangalore, contact us at Goficure. We at Goficure offer all kinds of medical facilities for our customers. Our services are exclusively available for people in Bangalore.
Once you connect with us, you will be contacted by our experienced support staff who will provide you all the guidance regarding your medical care. They are some of the best professionals in Bangalore experienced in handling critical-care patients in accordance with the sensitivity of the medical problem. In Bangalore, we will connect you to some of the best doctors and clinics that offer high-end medical services to patients.
If you are a parent and you are seeking treatment for your son, you can talk to our online as well as offline counselors. They will give him guidance and explain the treatment procedure. Patients who need surgeries can connect us. We will handle everything from diagnostic tests, hospital booking, to postoperative care.
Exclusive features you get with goficure
1. Dedicated Medi-Pal
A dedicated Medi-Pal is assigned to you. Your Medi-Pal will be your one point contact throughout the treatment and post-op period. They will always be available for you
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After understanding your concerns, your Medi-Pal will schedule your consultation with a specialist doctor. Your doctor will carry out necessary tests and advise the course of treatment
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If you opt to get the surgery done, goficure will take care of it completely. Right from booking your surgery, claiming your insurance to being with you throughout the procedure, your Medi-Pal will do it all
4. Post-op recovery support
Your Medi-Pal would ensure quick recovery. This includes booking your follow up consultations and helping you with doctor-recommended steps for diet & exercise
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