Overview of Varicocele
Although not all varicoceles affect sperm production, varicoceles are the most common treatable cause of low sperm production and decreased sperm quality.
Causes of Varicocele
Varicoceles usually develop slowly over time. A varicocele forms when valves inside the veins along the spermatic cord prevent blood from flowing properly. The blood backs up, leading to swelling and widening of the veins. Varicoceles occur more commonly on the left side, but can also occur on the right side.
Symptoms of Varicocele
A varicocele usually produces no symptoms, however, some men may experience pain or discomfort. Symptoms of a varicocele include:
- Enlarged, twisted veins in the scrotum
- Scrotal swelling, or bulge within the scrotum
Varicoceles can usually be detected through a physical exam. If the physical exam is inconclusive, a scrotal ultrasound may be performed.
Treatments for Varicocele
To repair the varicocele, our fellowship-trained male infertility specialist uses a microsurgical technique to repair the affected veins and allow normal blood flow to return to the area.
Varicocele repair is performed on an outpatient basis. Recovery time following varicocele repair is usually rapid. However, because sperm takes about 90 days to regenerate, it may take three to four months following treatment to determine whether the varicocele repair was successful in improving sperm counts.