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What Causes Varicose Veins in Testicles - Varicocele Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

By Nidhi Nangia. Updated: August 2, 2017
What Causes Varicose Veins in Testicles - Varicocele Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

The scrotum is the sac in which your testicles are covered with skin. It also consists of veins and arteries that are responsible for delivering blood to your reproductive glands. An abnormality in this scrotum can lead to varicocele. This is a condition in which the veins in your scrotum get enlarged, and they are much similar to varicose veins that occur in your legs. Varicocele can lead to deteriorated sperm count and quality which, in some cases, may lead to infertility. In this oneHOWTO article, let’s find out what causes varicose veins in testicles.

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Causes of veins in testicles : Varicocele

There can be a number of causes of varicose veins in testicles. Some of them are:

Improper functioning of valves

In most of the cases, the veins become enlarged because of the malfunctioning of valves in the small veins of scrotum. Veins have valves that open up to allow flow of blood to the heart, and close when the flow of blood slows down. As a result, the flow of blood that is flowing backwards may stop. If these valves stop working as normal, the blood flowing backwards may pool in the lower areas of the veins, and form varicocele. The entire process is much similar to how varicose veins are formed in your legs.

Blockage in the larger veins

Varicose veins in the testicles may also develop as a result of blockage in the larger veins of your abdomen. A blockage in your abdominal veins may put unnecessary pressure on your small veins of the scrotum and cause them to enlarge. This reason for varicocele is more common in older men more than 40 years of age. For instance, if an older man suddenly develops varicocele, it may be due to a kidney tumor that might be putting pressure on the scrotum veins.

Symptoms of varicose veins in testicles

Now that you know what causes varicose veins in testicles, you also need to identify its symptoms in order to be vigilant:

  • Lumps in any of your testicles
  • Swelling in the scrotum
  • Visibly twisted or enlarged veins in the testicles, which often look like a bunch of worms
  • Dull and recurring pain in the scrotum
  • Pain in testes
  • In some cases varicocele can present no symptoms at all

Degrees of varicocele

Depending on the degree of swelling of the veins in the spermatic cord the following types of varicocele are known:

  • Grade 1: varicocele is considered to be Grade 1 when the dilatation of the vein is not palpable or visible, so it may be necessary to perform a testicular echo to diagnose the condition.
  • Grade 2: in this degree the dilation can be palpated when the person makes efforts such as coughing or pushing.
  • Grade 3: at this point of the varicocele, the dilatation of the vein can easily be detected by touch without exerting any effort, but it is not yet visible.
  • Grade 4: the dilatation of the vein is totally palpable and visible.
What Causes Varicose Veins in Testicles - Varicocele Causes, Symptoms & Treatment - Symptoms of varicose veins in testicles

Varicocele side effects

Normally, varicose veins are harmless, but you may need to be on alert if they lead to other related complications, including:

Varicocele infertility

Men who have varicose veins in their testicles are more likely to be infertile than those who don’t have them. The pool of blood built in the veins can raise the temperature in your scrotum, due to which the quality and number of sperm may reduce and you may not be able to reproduce. Moreover if varicocele is not treated properly, it can affect the formation of sperm and testosterone production.

However, varicocele does not always lead to infertility, but it can be one of the reasons for your infertility.

Small testicles

If a teenager develops varicose veins in one of his testicles, then the testis with the varicose veins may not develop as usual. It may not fully develop and remain smaller than the other testis. The normal size of testicles should be from 4 to 8 centimeters (1.5 in to 3.1 in) long and 2 to 4 centimeters (0.7 to 1.5 in)wide. This does not look good, and sometimes contributes to infertility as well.

Erectile dysfunction

Another common question is whether varicocele affects the erection. The truth is that this condition does not directly affect the erection, so a person suffering from this condition does not have problems erectile dysfunction. However, the pain that varicocele can cause can be the cause of a man experiencing problems having an erection, but under no circumstances would talk about impotence. In this article we explain in more detail the causes of erectile dysfunction.

Varicoceles treatment

Although varicose veins in testicles are harmless, you may need to get them treated if they are painful, and if they are causing other related complications in your health. Some of the treatment options include:

  • Surgical ligation: In this process, an urologist makes an incision in the skin of your scrotum down to your testicular veins. He then ties them off with sutures. A Varicocelectomy will allow the blood flow to be directed to the normal veins to guarantee a good circulation. In most cases this surgery is ambulatory and it is recommended to apply ice packs in the treated area to reduce inflammation that may lead to maltreatment of the operation. You can leave the hospital on the same day, but may take 2-3 weeks to fully recover.
  • Embolization: Varicocele may also be embolized. To perform this treatment a catheter is placed into a vein in the groin and taken to the varicocele and a tiny spiral is inserted through the catheter into the varicocele. With this spiral, the doctor will try to divert the blood flow from the abnormal veins to the normal veins. It is also an outpatient intervention and ice is recommended to relieve pain in the treated area.
What Causes Varicose Veins in Testicles - Varicocele Causes, Symptoms & Treatment - Varicoceles treatment

Testicular varicocele treatment without surgery

If you have varicose veins in testicles but do not feel any of the symptoms presented above, then you can try these home treatments that can help in this condition and will prevent it from getting worse:

Hebal teas

Certain herbs llike bilberry, mukkuti, piper cubeba, autumn joy, psyllium and alstonia are proven to help.

Diet supplements

Increase consumption of whole grains, essential fatty acids, fruits, flavanoids, vegetables, poultry, olive oil, and high fiber food. Stay hydrated by consuming lots of water and fluids. Supplements for vitamin E, vitamin C, bioflavanoid and zinc are also recommended.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What Causes Varicose Veins in Testicles - Varicocele Causes, Symptoms & Treatment, we recommend you visit our Family health category.

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craig245
Thank you for the information on varicose veins, I do not have any symptoms and it is not hurting, so I think I will be fine.

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