Varicocele

The veins that drain the testicles can become abnormally swollen. This is called a varicocele.

The blood backs up in the veins that lead from the testicles. This is caused by the valves located inside the veins. Your doctor can feel the swollen scrotum and shine a light at the swollen area. If the light does not shine through the blood in the veins, a varicocele is the cause. An ultrasound can also be used to confirm the diagnosis.

SYMPTOMS

  • Swelling in the scrotum, usually on the left side.
  • The scrotum may feel like a bag of worms.
  • During hot weather or after exercising, an uncomfortable dragging pain may occur.

HOW A VARICOCELE IS TREATED

Wearing tight-fitting underwear or an athletic supporter to relieve discomfort may be all that is necessary. The backed-up blood in the testicles can result in infertility. In this case, surgery may be necessary to tie off or remove the varicocele to restore fertility. This procedure can be done on an outpatient basis.

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