Complications and Causes of Varicoceles

Published On: May, 25, 2022

What are Varicoceles?

A varicocele is a term used to describe abnormal enlargement of the veins within the scrotum. The veins carry blood from the various body organs back to the heart. Typically, veins have valves that prevent blood backflow. When the valves in the veins within the scrotum don’t work as they should, blood tends to collect in the scrotum, leading to varicoceles.

While varicocele is very common, it is not life-threatening. In fact, research shows that about 15 percent of all adult men have varicocele. For most men, the condition will go unnoticed throughout their life or does not cause any complications. Although the condition is not dangerous, varicocele is a common cause of low sperm production and reduced sperm quality, leading to infertility. Varicoceles can also lead to reduced testosterone production and scrotal discomfort. The condition often does not need treatment until there is a reason for concern about the associated problems. Fortunately, varicocele is easy to diagnose and treat.




Complications and Causes of Varicoceles


Unfortunately, although the condition is not life-threatening, it can also lead to several unpleasant complications.

  • Atrophy (shrinking of the affected testicles)

The testicles are made of sperm-producing tubules. Varicoceles damage these tubules, making the testicles soften and shrink.

  • Infertility

The condition also causes the local temperature around or in the testicles to be too high, affecting sperm formation



Medical practitioners are not sure of the leading cause of varicoceles. However, doctors agree that the condition forms when there is a problem with blood flow in the spermatic cord. The problem develops when the valves in the veins do not function properly and allows blood to flow back. As a result, blood pools in the veins causing them to dilate. When the condition is common in adults, it can also develop in teens during puberty. The testicles usually require more blood than usual during this growth cycle. This condition can lead to problems in the veins, preventing the blood from flowing where it should.

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