The functioning of various organs of the body may not last forever, at least in a correct way, pathologies and injuries that affect daily life are often found.

In this article we will explore what a varicocele is, an anomaly in the male sex, as well as its causes and the treatment that should be provided.

What is a varicocele?

Varicocele is one of several testicular conditions , which is a dilation or swelling in the blood veins of the pampiniform plexus type, which are found in the tissue of the spermatic cord, located in the testicles of men.

It is considered one of the causes of infertility, since it affects the transport of sperm to the seminal vesicle. This dilation also tends to occur more in the left testicle as the case may be.

Note: A medical study mentions that “The term was described by Curling in 1843 and the recognition of varicocele as a possible factor in male infertility comes from Amelius Cornelius Celsus” . (1)

Causes of varicocele

Varicocele has various causes , some occur from the beginning of puberty or due to abnormalities in embryonic development. We present you the most important:

1. Inflammation of veins in the spermatic cord

It is the main cause, since varicocele occurs due to inflammation in the veins of the spermatic cord tissue, which is responsible for transporting blood around the testicles. Said inflammation prevents this transport and largely affects the genital organ.

2. Protein Overexposure

It is a well-known biological term that occurs during embryonic development , although it is generally a kind of genetic mutation, where many copies of proteins are made, this influences the formation of cancer.

3. Kidney tumor

Renal cancer or tumor is another known cause. It is a disease where malignant cells are located in the kidney tubule and spread through the pelvis and ureters , even affecting the male genital organ.

Note: A study mentions that “Kidney cancer represents 2-3% of all tumors, with a higher incidence in developed countries” . (two)

How to know if a man has varicocele?

There are key ways to tell if a man has a varicocele, since certain symptoms do not appear or feel at first sight. We present the following observations:

1. Testicular pain and inflammation

In most cases, you can feel excruciating pain or very noticeable swelling in the testicles, especially if it occurs on the right side, this is due to poor blood circulation around the testicles.

To highlight: It is known thanks to a study that “On the right side of the testicle there are always several valves, but if it is the opposite and they are insufficient, a varicocele can develop.” (3)

2. Painless testicular mass

Sometimes, the testicle does not present any type of pain around its testicular mass, this occurs due to the absence of blood or inactive nerves in said area.

Note: You could suffer from a varicocele without realizing it. Given this, it is recommended to do a simple examination.

3. Enlarged veins

The veins of a testicle with varicocele can be rolled up in a strange way or found enlarged , as a result of the inflammation suffered by the testicle in the development of the varicocele, this affects the blood flow of the genitals. It can be seen through x-rays.

4. Infertility

If a couple cannot have children, varicocele can be one of the main reasons, where the man is infertile due to the few sperm that are transported to the seminal vesicle, in order to join an egg during ejaculation.

Treatment for varicocele

Fortunately there are treatments to combat varicocele, for those men who suffer from it, we present the most important ones:

1. Open surgery or microsurgery

This option is mainly done in adult patients, where you can opt for open surgery in which a surgeon makes a small incision to surgically fix the tissues and veins.

Note: Microsurgery can also be performed with more sophisticated equipment, such as a small catheter or magnifying loupes.

2. Percutaneous embolization

Embolization is mainly used to stop bleeding or hemorrhage , as well as to devitalize a tumor or a specific anomaly, it is done using sponges and absorbent materials. This is a complement to surgery, especially for kidney and pelvic conditions.

3. Painkillers

Surgery is not the only treatment . You can opt for painkillers that are easily available , in order to alleviate the mild discomfort of the varicocele. They can be obtained in nearby pharmacies and the most used are paracetamol or ibuprofen, indicated to relieve symptoms such as testicular pain.

4. Sports jockstrap

The sports jockstrap or scrotal support, is a necessary garment to release the pressure that is loaded on the testicle regardless of which side it is on, it must be used carefully as it can worsen the swelling, but being a short it is very easy to use .

Key Findings

  • Varicocele is an anomaly that occurs in the testicles and can occur in adolescents or adults, even affecting fertility.
  • It occurs due to inflammation of the veins that surround the testicle and other times due to the presence of tumors.
  • Mostly the symptoms are painless , giving the impression that you do not have a varicocele.
  • There are effective treatments to relieve pelvic muscle pain, as well as to remove it through surgery.

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