Overview of Varicocele

Varicocele Meaning in Urdu

یہ بیماری اس تھیلی میں رگوں کے سائز میں اضافے کا باعث بنتی ہے جس میں ٹیسٹیکلز موجود ہوتے ہیں۔ عام طور پر لڑکوں میں بلوغت کی عمر کے دوران رگوں کے سائز میں اضافہ ہوتا ہے۔ رگوں کا سائز بڑھنے کی وجہ سے بے چینی اور درد کا سامنا کرنا پڑ سکتا ہے، جب کہ اکثر اوقات اس اضافے کی وجہ سے کوئی بھی علامت ظاہر نہیں ہوتی۔ اس بیماری کی وجہ سے ٹیسٹیکلز کا سائز بھی تبدیل ہو سکتا ہے۔ اگر جسم میں خون کی روانی متاثر ہو جائے تو اس بیماری کے خطرات میں اضافہ ہو سکتا ہے۔


Varicocele is a condition in which the veins in the scrotum become enlarged and twisted. The scrotum is the sac that holds the testicles, and the veins in the scrotum are responsible for carrying blood away from the testicles. When these veins become enlarged, they can interfere with the normal blood flow, causing pain, discomfort, and infertility in some cases. They are typically found on the left side of the scrotum, but they can occur on both sides. 

Prevalence of Varicocele

Varicoceles usually develop during puberty and are more common in men aged 15 to 25. Globally, Varicocele affects 15% of healthy men and up to 35% of men with primary infertility



Signs and Symptoms of Varicocele

Some common symptoms of varicocele include:

  • A lump or swelling in one or both testicles
  • Pain or discomfort in the scrotum or testicles, especially when standing or sitting for long periods
  • A feeling of heaviness or dragging in the scrotum
  • Testicular atrophy (shrinkage) or decreased sperm count
  • Enlarged veins that are visible or can be felt in the scrotum
  • Fertility problems or difficulty conceiving

Not all men with varicocele experience symptoms and the severity of symptoms can vary from person to person.


Types of Varicocele

There are three types of varicoceles based on their location:

  • Palpable Varicocele: This type of varicocele can be felt through the scrotum as a twisted mass of veins. It is the most common type of varicocele.
  • Non-palpable Varicocele: This type of varicocele cannot be felt through the scrotum. It is typically diagnosed through imaging tests, such as ultrasound.
  • Subclinical Varicocele: This type is not visible or palpable and is diagnosed through specialized imaging techniques, such as thermography.

In addition to these types, varicoceles are classified based on their severity. It is determined by the size of the veins and the degree of blood flow obstruction. The Varicocele severity can help guide the treatment approach, as more severe varicoceles are more likely to cause pain, discomfort, and fertility problems.


Causes of Varicocele

Some of the risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing varicocele include:

  • Family history: Varicocele tends to run in families, suggesting a genetic component.
  • Anatomy: The position of the left testicular vein, which is longer and enters the left renal vein at a 90-degree angle, may make it more susceptible to reflux and increased pressure.
  • Physical activity: Engaging in activities that increase intra-abdominal pressure such as heavy lifting or straining during bowel movements, may increase the risk of developing varicocele.
  • Hormones: Hormonal imbalances, such as increased testosterone levels, can cause the veins in the scrotum to enlarge.
  • Chronic constipation: Chronic constipation can lead to straining during bowel movements, which can increase the pressure in the veins in the scrotum.


Varicoceles are usually harmless and do not cause any significant health problems. However, in some cases, they can lead to complications, including:

  • Infertility: Varicoceles can cause a decrease in sperm count and motility, which can affect fertility in some men.
  • Testicular atrophy: Over time, varicoceles can lead to testicular shrinkage or atrophy, which can cause pain and discomfort.
  • Hydrocele: In rare cases, a varicocele can cause fluid buildup around the testicle, leading to a condition called a hydrocele.
  • Blood clot: Varicoceles can increase the risk of blood clots, which can be dangerous if they travel to other body parts. 
  • Pain: Some men may experience persistent pain or discomfort in the scrotum or testicles.

If you are experiencing any of these complications or are concerned about your reproductive health, consult with a healthcare provider. They can provide a proper diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options.


Risk Factors of Varicocele



Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to prevent varicocele. However, some lifestyle choices may reduce the risk of developing varicocele:

  • Exercise regularly: Exercise can improve blood flow and circulation, which may help prevent the development of varicocele.
  • Avoid tight clothing: Wearing tight clothing, particularly tight underwear, can increase the temperature of the scrotum, which may contribute to the development of varicocele.
  • Practice good hygiene: Keeping the genital area clean and dry can help prevent infections that may cause swelling and damage to the veins.
  • Avoid prolonged sitting or standing: Sitting or standing for long periods can lead to decreased blood flow and circulation, which may contribute to the development of varicocele.
  • Wear protective gear during sports: If you play sports that involve impact or sudden movements, wearing protective gear, such as a jockstrap, can help prevent injury to the scrotum.
  • Manage your weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing varicocele.

It is important to note that while these lifestyle choices may reduce the risk of developing varicocele, they are not guaranteed to prevent it.




The varicocele diagnosis is typically made through a physical examination and imaging studies.

Here are the steps for diagnosing varicocele:

  • Physical examination: A doctor will first perform a physical examination to check for the presence of a varicocele. It will involve a visual inspection and palpation of the scrotum while the patient is standing.
  • Ultrasound: If the physical examination suggests the presence of a varicocele, an ultrasound may confirm the diagnosis. An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the veins in the scrotum, which can help the doctor determine the severity of the varicocele.
  • Doppler ultrasound: A doppler ultrasound is a specialized type of ultrasound that can measure blood flow through the veins. It can help the doctor determine whether the varicocele is causing blood flow problems and potential infertility.
  • Semen analysis: In some cases, a doctor may order a semen analysis to check for fertility issues. This may be done with the ultrasound and physical examination to confirm the diagnosis and determine the appropriate treatment plan.


Treatment of Varicocele | When to Consult a Doctor

The varicocele treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms and whether it is causing infertility. Here are some of the treatment options:

  • Observation: If the varicocele is not causing discomfort or fertility problems, your doctor may suggest monitoring the condition with regular checkups.
  • Supportive Measures: Wearing supportive undergarments such as briefs or a jockstrap can help reduce pain and discomfort.
  • Surgery: Surgical treatment is recommended if the varicocele is causing fertility problems or pain. The surgery, known as a varicocelectomy, involves tying off or removing the enlarged veins. It can be done through open surgery or less invasive laparoscopic surgery.
  • Embolization: It is a minimally invasive procedure where a small catheter is inserted through a vein in the groin and guided to the varicocele. The doctor then injects a material that causes the vein to close off and shrink.

Not all varicoceles require treatment, and the decision to treat them will depend on the severity of the condition and the patient's fertility goals. A urologist can help diagnose Varicocele and devise a treatment plan based on the complexity and severity of the disease.