When varicoceles cause pain or contribute to infertility, they can be treated with a quick procedure, right in our facility where our specialists cut off blood flow to the problem vein and allow the varicocele to resolve on its own.
Varicoceles are varicose veins that develop in the scrotum, often appearing during adolescence and growing over time. They may cause pain or discomfort, and they have been linked to infertility. Over time, an untreated varicocele can lead to shrinkage of the testicle.
Symptoms of a varicocele
Varicoceles often develop on the left side of the scrotum. Not all varicoceles cause symptoms. You may have a varicocele if you experience:
- A dull, aching pain that is worse when standing or at the end of the day. The discomfort may be relieved by lying down.
- Swelling of the scrotum.
- A mass in the scrotum that feels and/or looks like “a bag of worms.”
- The affected testicle is smaller than the other.
- Infertility, most likely due to a temperature increase from inflammation around the varicocele.
Treatment for Varicoceles
At CiC, we offer an alternative to surgical stitching or clipping of a varicocele. Our procedure does not require general anesthesia and takes place right in our facility.
Your doctor will make a tiny nick in your upper thigh and insert a very thin tube into your blood vessel. Using real-time imaging, the doctor will guide the tube to the varicocele and deliver an agent into the vein that blocks the flow of blood. This is called embolization. With its blood flow cut off, the varicocele will shrink and eventually be re-absorbed by your body.
The procedure takes about an hour, and you’ll be able to return to normal activities in one to two days. You can resume exercise after about a week.
Varicoceles can be frustrating, but they are treatable. If you suspect the pain or infertility you are experiencing could be caused by a varicocele, call us for an appointment today.