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Who’s at Risk for a Varicocele?

Who’s at Risk for a Varicocele?

Testicles are sensitive parts of the male reproductive system. They house the vessels that create sperm and allow them to reproduce. However, if you have a varicocele, one of the vessels in your testicle is enlarged, which threatens the health of your sperm.

If you think you're at risk for a varicocele, the team at NY Urology has the tools to provide you with treatment. Dr. Chong-Min Kim and Dr. David Shusterman are our two board-certified nephrologists who provide varicocele embolization if you have pain or infertility problems.

What is a varicocele?

A varicocele is an enlarged vein in your scrotum, which holds the testicles in a man. Varicoceles are enlarged veins in your legs, known as varicose veins.

The pampiniform plexus is the vein that the varicoceles directly affect. These veins are located in the spermatic cord, which houses the vas deferens and the main testicular artery.

Varicoceles are a problem because the pampiniform plexus cools the blood in your testicles before it reaches the sperm. The varicocele disrupts the vessel's ability to cool the blood, resulting in poor sperm production.

You may not have any symptoms when you have a varicocele, which makes it hard to detect. However, if you do have symptoms, they may include any of the following:

If you're having fertility issues, a varicocele could be the culprit. The varicocele causes the temperature to rise in your testicles, which affects the quality of your sperm.

You may also have a varicocele if you notice a significant change in the size or shape of one of your testicles.

Are you at risk for a varicocele?

There are no natural risk factors for a varicocele. However, they seem more common in teenagers than in older men.

When puberty hits, blood flow often increases to the genitals. Increased blood flow can result in excess blood pooling in your scrotum, ultimately leading to a varicocele.

Most asymptomatic men find out they have a varicocele when their doctor evaluates them due to infertility. Untreated varicoceles lead to problems with sperm health, ultimately leading to infertility problems.

All men assigned male at birth are at risk for varicoceles, but not one factor sets someone apart. It's unclear what causes varicoceles, but the thought is similar to that of varicose veins.

How is a varicocele treated?

If you're suffering from testicular pain or notice a change in the size of your testicle, make an appointment with the NY Urology team as soon as you can. We evaluate your testicular health to determine if a varicocele is causing your symptoms.

Our team recommends treatment based on the severity of your symptoms. If you have a varicocele but it doesn't bother you, we may choose to keep an eye on it.

Conservative measures usually are enough for mild varicoceles. These measures include icing the testicles, taking over-the-counter medications, and wearing tight underwear to support your testicles.

In severe cases of varicoceles, our team may recommend surgical repair of the issue, especially if you're having infertility problems or pain. We provide varicocele embolization to men who need surgical treatment.

During this procedure, we use X-ray guidance to insert a tiny tube into a vein in your leg. We advance the small tube into the varicocele and place coils to block blood flow into that vein.

Varicocele embolization is a highly successful procedure, and we do it on an outpatient basis, meaning no hospital stay. It's a great alternative to more invasive forms of surgery.

If you think you have a varicocele and need treatment, call NY Urology today to make an appointment with our team. You can also book a consultation online using our convenient scheduling tool.

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