Men usually do not come to know that they have varicose veins in the scrotum (varicocele) till the time when they are unable to impregnate the female partner and then evaluated for infertility. Infertility may affect 1 in 6 couples, and in approximately 40% of cases, it is due to issues found in male fertility. Moreover, among those 40% cases, varicoceles can occur in 15% of males facing infertility. However, the good news is that there are fertility treatment options to treat infertility caused due to a varicocele.
A varicocele is a web of varicose veins (enlarged veins) that develop in the scrotum. The condition usually occurs as a result of the failure of the valves functioning within the veins that are supposed to return blood from the testicles back into the systemic circulation. As a result of this valve failure, the pressure in the abnormal veins rises with the formation of a varicocele. A varicocele can occur in about 15% of males and in about 40% of infertile men — and it results in reduced quality of sperm. As enlarged veins in a man’s scrotum disrupt blood flow to the testicle, this causes the temperature in the testes to increase, and an increase in the temperature can impact sperm production.
A varicocele usually has no signs or symptoms; occasionally, it might cause pain. Moreover, the pain may vary from sharp to a dull discomfort may increase when a person stands or when he exerts himself physically, may worsen over the course of a day. The pain may subside when the person rests while lying on his back.
A man having a varicocele has impaired fertility. With time, varicoceles can enlarge and become more prominent, thus worsening the condition. This condition may cause the testicles to swell, and this happens mostly on the left side.
The actual cause of a varicocele is not known, but experts believe that it forms when the valves inside the veins in the spermatic cord which carries blood to and from the testicles prevent the blood from flowing properly. This creates pressure and causes the veins to dilate and damages the testicle and results in impaired fertility.
Varicoceles are known to raise the temperature of the testicle, which, in a way, affects sperm production and its development. Increase in temperature can affect sperm production in two ways firstly it leads to a decrease in the production of testosterone hormone, which is the male hormone required to produce sperm. This decrease in the level of testosterone leads to a decline in the sperm count that is produced and impairs the development of the sperm, thus affecting its motility. The increased scrotal temperature can even lead to a rise in reactive oxygen species, which is known to damage the sperm’s DNA. All these factors together are known to harm the health of the sperm, thus affecting fertility.
So as seen there are 4 ways a varicocele can affect male fertility:
In all the cases, a varicocele treatment may not be necessary. Many men who have varicoceles are still able to father a child without the need for any treatment. However, if the varicocele is causing pain, is a reason for testicular atrophy (shrinkage in testicles) or infertility then it might be necessary to consider assisted reproductive techniques, and then undergo a varicocele repair surgery.
The purpose of the surgery is to seal off the affected vein to redirect the flow of blood into normal veins. Hence the treatment of a varicocele might improve or cure infertility or might even improve the quality of sperm if assisted reproductive techniques such as In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is needed so that a couple can conceive.
Treating varicoceles would result in increased sperm count, improved sperm quality and more motile sperm. Hence the success rates of pregnancy are greatly enhanced when men choose to correct their varicoceles. It has been seen that success rates for pregnancies after the treatment options range from 26% to 50%.
Varicoceles are treated both through surgical procedures and nonsurgical treatment options. These treatments mainly aim to decrease the pressure that is created in the varicose veins that make up the varicocele. The treatment options are:
A Varicocele surgery may have some risks and complications associated with it, which may include:
Infertility might be a problem if you have a varicocele. Hence it is important to converse with your fertility specialist and get a solution regarding which treatment plan to follow if you and your partner are having issues getting pregnant.
The medical procedure is just necessary if the varicocele is causing you pain or in case you’re trying for a baby. After the surgery, your fertility specialist would test you in 3-4 months to check the semen quality. It usually takes this much time for new sperm to develop. You’ll probably observe enhancements in six months, yet it could even take a year. Your varicocele might return after treatment, but after knowing all this, in most cases, surgery is the best option.
Medicover Fertility is a renowned international brand with an experience of over more than 23 years in the field of infertility. We have a team of highly skilled and experienced doctors who help a couple dealing with infertility. We have a very high fertility success rate as we use the latest technology in fertility treatments. Here the couples are carefully examined to find out the actual cause of infertility and treated accordingly.
Receiving a diagnosis of male infertility due to a varicocele can be emotionally disturbing. Best is to speak to a doctor who will recommend a treatment plan for you. We here in Medicover keep your personal information confidential. If you want any further information related to Varicocele, its treatment options and ART options to conceive successfully, you can contact us at this number +917862800700 or mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org