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Varicocele and Infertility

Varicocele

Varicocele refers to the abnormally enlarges veins in the scrotum. Varicoceles are a common reason behind abnormal semen analysis, low sperm count, reduced sperm motility, and abnormal sperm structure, which results in infertility.

What are the symptoms of varicocele?

Varicocele rarely produces any symptoms. It goes unnoticed most of the time until noticed during a self-exam or routine physical exam by the doctor. Rarely, varicocele might cause pain, and the pain may:

  • Range from sharp to dull uneasiness
  • Deteriorate over a day
  • Increase with standing or heavy work, particularly over an extended duration
  • Be relieved while lying in the back position

Gradually, varicoceles may widen and become more visible. The condition may result in a swollen testicle, mainly on the left side.

What are the causes of varicocele?

Varicocele forms when there is an improper blood flow in the valves inside the spermatic cord’s veins. Then blood backs up, resulting in swelling and widening of the veins. Varicoceles often develop during puberty. Generally, it arises on the left side due to the position of the left testicular vein.

varicoceles
varicoceles

What is the effect of varicoceles on sperm?

Varicoceles might raise the temperature around the testicle, which affects sperm formation, movement, and function. Also, it can generate inadequate blood supply in the testis.

What is the treatment for varicocele?

Varicocele is treated when males are experiencing pain or discomfort.

Varicocelectomy is a surgical process to correct a varicocele. In this process, the swollen veins are tied off. Then the collected blood is forwarded to the healthy veins. If the sperm parameters (number, motility, or morphology) are impaired, IVF/ICSI is the treatment option to help the couple to get pregnant.

Types of treatment related to this article

IVF means in vitro fertilization. In vitro means in the laboratory ( outside the body) and fertiliza…
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a technique developed to overcome male infertility attrib…
Preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidies (PGT‐A), formerly known as preimplantation geneti…
PGT-SR is a genetic test for detecting inherited chromosomal structural rearrangements in embryos pr…

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What is Varicocele, how does it affect male fertility?

Faq

  1. Q.Can varicocele cause infertility?

    Yes. Varicocele causes the enlargement of veins in the scrotum. This can lead to an increased temperature within the testicles. Therefore, sperm production, sperm quality, and sperm motility may be affected.

  2. Q.Can varicocele be cured?

    Yes, its treatment is possible. If not a complete cure, the treatment aims to improve fertility and alleviate symptoms. The surgical approach and embolization are the two treatment methods.

  3. Q.Will surgery for varicocele improve my fertility?

    Yes, most of the time, varicocele surgery improves fertility in men. However, it’ll only improve the quality of sperm, not the quantity. Also, not all patients with varicocele needs surgery.

  4. Q.How long after varicocele treatment will my fertility improve?

    Typically, it takes 3 to 6 months after the surgery to see an improvement in fertility. However, the period can go up to a full year.

  5. Q.Does varicocele cause infertility in all impacted males?

    No, most men with varicocele don’t go through infertility. Fertile men can also have varicocele. In some men, it can impact their fertility.

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