The Impact of Varicocele on Male Infertility: Unraveling the Link

The Impact of Varicocele on Male Infertility: Unraveling the Link

North Atlanta Vascular Clinic and Vein Center


Varicocele is the swelling of the veins in the scrotum and testicles, causing pain and discomfort. According to research, varicoceles are prevalent in about 15% to 20% of men and individuals assigned male at birth (AMAB) in the United States, impacting roughly 1 in 5. The resulting complications of varicocele are severe, such as testicular atrophy (shrinkage of the testicles), decreased sexual function, low sperm count, and poor sperm motility.

Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of the causes and symptoms is essential to identify the complications and ensure timely treatment. Read on to learn more about varicocele’s impact on male fertility.

How Does Varicocele Impact Fertility?

Varicocele causes the veins inside the scrotum to become enlarged and dilated. It restricts the proper blood flow and leads to an increase in temperature inside the testicles. The rise in temperature affects sperm production and quality resulting in male infertility. In some cases, the shrinkage of testicles resulting from varicocele decreases testosterone levels, possibly preventing conception in their female partners.

What Are the Causes of Varicocele?

Scrotum veins’ valves optimize the blood flow to and from the testicles. The abnormalities in the veins disrupt the flow, causing the blood to back up, thus resulting in the dilation and enlargement of the veins. This disruption causes varicocele in males.

What Are the Symptoms of Varicocele?

Varicocele often does not produce any symptoms; possible signs may include are:

  • Pain when standing
  • Infertility
  • Abnormally sized testicle
  • Swelling in the scrotum
  • Visible twisted or enlarged veins in the scrotum
  • A lump in one of your testicles

Who Is at More Risk of Varicocele?

You may have a risk of developing varicocele if you:

  • Are in adulthood
  • Have a family history of varicocele
  • Have a kidney tumor
  • Have varicose veins in your legs
  • Engage in activities that require heavy lifting

How Is Varicocele Diagnosed?

Your doctor may perform the following procedures to diagnose varicocele:

  • Physical Exam: Examines your testicles for the presence of a lump.
  • Blood Test: Check your blood sample for any abnormalities in your hormone levels.
  • Scrotal Ultrasound: Measures the spermatic veins and checks the severity of the condition.
  • Valsalva Maneuver: Diagnoses smaller varicoceles by examining your scrotum.
  • Semen Analysis: Checks the overall health of your sperm.

Treatment for Varicocele Infertility

You do not need to treat varicocele unless it causes:

  • Testicular atrophy
  • Chronic pain
  • Sperm irregularities
  • Infertility

If you experience any of the above consequences, your doctor may recommend one of the following procedures:

  • Varicocelectomy: It includes clamping or tying off the abnormal veins, so blood can flow around the abnormal veins to the normal ones.
  • Varicocele Embolization: A small catheter is inserted into your groin or neck vein, and a coil is then placed into it and the varicocele. It blocks blood flow to the abnormal veins.

Lifestyle Changes for Managing Varicocele

  • Exercise regularly to maintain proper blood flow.
  • A cold compress can ease your pain, discomfort, and swelling.
  • Wear jockstrap underwear for extra support if you have to stand for long periods.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Avoid wearing tight underwear as they cause pressure to the scrotum.
  • Eat a fiber-rich diet.

Seek Relief from Varicocele Symptoms with North Atlanta Vascular Clinic

If you are experiencing varicocele symptoms, schedule an appointment with us at North Atlanta Vascular Clinic. With a team of experienced vein disease specialists in Suwanee, GA, we diagnose and treat varicocele effectively, providing patients with long-lasting relief. For more information on our services, visit our website or contact us at (770)-771- 5260.



Content Source: Cleveland Clinic


North Atlanta Vascular Clinic and Vein Center

North Atlanta Vascular Clinic is a vascular surgery center located in Suwanee, Cumming, Alpharetta, and Lawrenceville, Georgia. Our vein disease specialists offer a comprehensive examination that includes a physical examination, review of your symptoms, and discussion of your medical history. We use advanced venography techniques and provide effective treatment for several health conditions like DVT, Spider Veins, Leg Cramps, MTS, and more. Contact us to get accurate diagnosis and treatment for all your vascular diseases.

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