Varicoceles are varicose veins of the testes, one or two testes. So, What are varicose veins, what does that mean?
In order to understand what varicose veins means, we have to understand first what arteries and veins are like and what the difference between them is.
Let’s have a look at this sheet. You’ll see here: the heart would be pumping blood into the arteries. And the arteries would be ending in capillaries, and the capillaries end up forming the veins. And the veins take the blood back to the heart. The effect of the heart pump affects only the arteries. So, the strength of the pumping, you can feel it in the arteries. So, the arteries have always the blood gushing through them easily, if they are in good condition
But then the heart pump effect stops exactly at the capillaries, and then there’s no power sending back the blood to the heart through the veins, other than the movement of the muscles and the effect of the valves present in the wall of those veins. Those valves work like gates. Those gates open for the blood to go up, then close again.
So, let’s suppose that these valves have something wrong with them, so these doors are kind of broken or have bad hinges, so the valves are not working properly. This means that the blood will droop back or seed back through them and then this causes the veins to elongate and become tortuous and visible, and also less functional. And here we call this varicose veins.
Varicose veins can happen in the legs for example, or elsewhere, like, around the testes. So actually the varicose veins of the testes, varicocele, means that the veins around the testes, the valves thereof, are affected in a way that the blood is stagnating there and the blood vessels are tortuous and elongated and looking different from the normal healthy ones. So, the problem is that the blood is stagnating there.
15% of men might have varicocele. It might cause no problem at all, but it also might cause complaints like feeling of pain or heaviness by the end of the day, but the major problems that we are concerned about related to varicocele are two thing.
One is the lack of development of the testes, so, the testes will remain too small and the function thereof will also be stagnating. What makes your male hormones, it will be delayed and this will affect the whole development as a man. And in this case we will have to seek medical help.
The other aspect is that it might be affecting your fertility. So, couples who are complaining of delayed pregnancy, we have to check the husband for varicocele problems. One of the symptoms that you could be seeing on the appearance of the testes is the bag of worms image.
Now, are there any risk factors for having varicocele? Yes. Some people believe that wearing very tight clothes, lack of exercise and chronic constipation might be affecting your circulation around that area. So, a healthy lifestyle, avoiding tight clothes and heaving healthy bowel movement is very important. Also: sporting. Don’t forget to sport. Drinking enough fluids will help you also avoid developing varicocele.
One more thing is that people suspect that the high temperatures resulting from varicocele but also resulting from using for example the laptop on your legs for a long time might be contributing to the problem and contributing to the problem of infertility. So, if you want to avoid that please keep the computer away from your legs and also try to take colder showers. That will help also avoid the complications.
So, the complications are actually infertility and small testes, and dysfunctional therefore. This will affect their functions in the future and your manly appearance in the end. We want to avoid that.
The treatment depends on your age and the problem you’re having with it. So, if you’re a teenager we would like to monitor how good the testes are growing and this will mean that you’ll have to have follow-up on regular basis with your doctor.
Sometimes we will have to do surgery to do something with the veins. We actually either embolize the veins or ligate them. In the end we will have to get rid of the veins that have the problem. This also might be of negative effect on your fertility and as testes function. So, in the end the surgical treatment also has it’s side effects, but sometimes we will have to do it in order to avoid other problems. Also, the surgical treatment does not guarantee, that it will not recur. It might recur and we will have to see another solution for it
So for prevention of varicocele my advice to you is to avoid constipation, avoid putting the laptop computers on your lap, put it on the table always, also drink a lot of fluids, do sports, avoid hot showers, saunas, tight clothes and have enough sleep, that’s also very important.
I wish you all the best!