Varicoceles, or enlarged veins within the scrotum, are a common problem in men. At Advanced Urology of South Florida, the experienced team of urologists provides a wide range of services to evaluate and treat varicoceles and preserve your reproductive health. If you’ve noticed abnormal veins in your scrotum, call the office in Delray Beach, Florida, or book an appointment online today.
Your scrotum is filled with veins and arteries that keep your genitals supplied with blood. When one of these veins becomes enlarged, it’s known as a varicocele. Varicoceles only develop in your scrotum, but they’re similar to the varicose veins that can occur in your legs.
Varicoceles are very common — especially in men 15-25 years of age — and affect about 15% of men and 20% of adolescent boys. When left untreated, varicoceles can lead to reduced sperm quality and production. In some cases, they can also cause infertility and shrink the testicles.
While varicoceles are most common on the left side of your scrotum, they can occur on both sides in rare cases.
The veins inside of your scrotum contain valves that keep your blood moving in a specific direction; first, the blood flows from your heart to your scrotum, then it returns to your heart. When the one-way valves in your veins fail, blood begins to pool in the vein, and it enlarges. Over time, a varicocele develops.
The precise reason these valves fail isn’t clear, but varicoceles typically develop during puberty.
Varicoceles don’t always have symptoms, but you may experience:
It’s also common to have a large, twisted vein visible in your scrotum making it resemble a bag of worms.
Your doctor at Advanced Urology of South Florida usually diagnoses a varicocele during a physical examination. In some cases, your doctor also conducts a scrotal ultrasound. This test measures your spermatic veins and provides a more comprehensive assessment of your condition.
Based on your examination, your doctor classifies your condition to determine the best course of treatment. Grade 1 varicoceles are the smallest, and grade 3 are the largest. Not all varicoceles require treatment.
Depending on your symptoms and fertility goals, your doctor might recommend varicocelectomy or varicocele embolization to close abnormal veins. To relieve your pain and discomfort, your doctor may suggest wearing a jock strap or tight-fitting underwear for additional support.
Call Advanced Urology of South Florida or schedule an appointment online to learn more about varicoceles.