Varicocele – Cause of Male Subfertility

Varicocele is an aberrant swelling of the veins in the scrotum that causes the draining of the testicles (abnormality of the veins that take blood away from the testicle). It is a shared but treatable cause of male subfertility. Although it is above the testicles, usually on the left side but it can occur on either side. The occurrence of varicoceles is around 10 to 20% and highest in men aged around 15 to 25 years at some point in their lives. Varicocele is an uncommon complaint in children and rarely found in boys below the age of 10 years.

Varicocele is caused due to the widening of the veins along the Spermatic cord. It is essentially one or more swollen veins (a collection of swollen veins) in the scrotum along the Spermatic cord (scrotum). The formation of a network of tangled blood vessels (varicose veins) in the male scrotum or medically “dilation of the pampiniform plexus” of the spermatic cord causes increased spermatozoal “reactive oxygen species” formation and reduced seminal plasma antioxidant capacity. This is the most shared correctable interruption of infertility in adult males. It is a state of varicosity and tortuosity of the pampiniform plexus surrounding the testis caused by reduced blood flow.

Intratesticular varicocele is an uncommon thing and its clinical significance is not fully established and understood. Many a times the varicocele is silent and asymptomatic and does not cause any symptoms however, it can be painful specially noticeable and painful in the standing position as a consequence of the welling of the soft lump surrounding the testicle in the scrotum.

The varicocele is a conundrum in the handling of male infertility. Unfortunately, out of the several reasons of male infertility, varicocele is one of the most shared. This is caused mainly by draining the sperm from the testicle. In addition, it reduces sperm count, motility and also destroys the physical composition of the sperm. Medication is not compulsory for all varicoceles unless it is the cause of infertility.

The clinically apparent varicocele is possibly the majority usual identifiable and correctable cause of the male infertility. The good news is that fertility can be achieved as soon as the varicocele is healed.

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