Varicocele treatment information, causes, diagnosis, signs and symptoms, by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
April 15, 2016

A varicocele is an enlargement of the veins within the scrotum, the loose bag of skin that holds the testicles. It is similar to a varicose vein of the leg. A varicocele is a dilation of the venous plexus and the internal spermatic vein. Varicocele is a well-recognized cause of decreased testicular function and occurs in approximately 15% of all males and in 30% of infertile males. Varicocele is one cause of low sperm count.

Urol Clin North Am. Feb 2014. Varicoceles are an abnormal dilation of the pampiniform plexus of veins within the scrotum. Varicoceles are highly prevalent and can result in a myriad of deleterious effects on male reproduction. Numerous therapeutic options are available for correcting varicoceles, including surgical varicocelectomy and radiographic venous embolization. Varicocele correction is a more cost-effective therapeutic modality than both intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) for affected couples. In summary, varicoceles contribute significantly to male reproductive pathology, and correction is an important option for both clinicians and patients to consider in this era of assisted reproductive techniques.

Transl Androl Urology. 2014. Adolescent varicocele: limited indications for treatment during puberty and adolescence. Bogaert GA. A varicocele is defined as an abnormal dilatation of the pampiniform plexus of veins of the testis. The vast majority of children and adolescents with varicoceles have no subjective symptoms. The complete work-up of patient diagnosed with a varicocele involves a physical exam in supine and prone position with and without Valsalva, and the use of ultrasound to measure testicular volume and blood flow. Because of growth issues occurring during puberty and adolescence, serial follow-ups may be done to determine any detrimental change in testicular size and symptomatology. The main difference of an adolescent varicocele is the fact that semen parameters are unavailable and do not count for treatment strategy. In this review, the focus is made on a recent study that has evaluated the ultimate endpoint: paternity. It appears that screening and treatment of a varicocele in the adolescent period does not influence the ultimate chance of paternity.

Symptoms and signs
Symptoms of varicocele include: Visible, enlarged, twisted veins in the scrotum; A painless testicle lump, scrotal swelling, or bulge within the scrotum. Some men may have infertility as a result.

Embolization: Nonsurgical option to treat Varicoceles
Robert White, Jr., M.D., professor of diagnostic radiology and director of the Yale Vascular Malformation Center at Yale University, says,  "Approximately 10 percent of men suffer from varicoceles -- varicose veins in the testicle and scrotum that may cause pain, testicular atrophy or fertility problems. Over 70,000 men undergo surgery, which requires two to five weeks of recovery, every year for varicoceles. However, embolization is a nonsurgical option. In this outpatient procedure, an interventional radiologist uses imaging to guide a catheter into the affected vein and block blood flow, reducing pressure on the varicocele. This simple and elegant embolization technique allows us to treat testicular atrophy in young boys and reverse infertility in some men -- all nonsurgically." Robert White, Jr., M.D., is professor at Yale University.

Varicocele surgery for fertility problem
A varicocele, an enlargement of veins in the scrotum, can impair a man's fertility. Fortunately, surgery can correct the problem, and the procedure is just as effective for older men as it is for younger men.

Readers ask
Is there a supplement or herb that can help with testicular atrophy or even reverse it to a degree? Varicocele was repaired (but not in teen years), but still have some atrophy.
   I am not aware of any natural remedies at this time.

Is there an all-natural cure herbal or alternative treatment - other than surgery?
   Not that I konw of.