4 Signs of a Varicocele That Needs Treatment

Jun 11, 2024
4 Signs of a Varicocele That Needs Treatment
Varicocele challenges don’t have to impact your health and well-being long-term. Consider these signs that it’s time for varicocele treatment.

A varicocele is a bulging, swollen vein in your scrotum, or the skin surrounding your testicles. While varicoceles aren’t always problematic, they can cause bothersome symptoms and complications that range from uncomfortable to life-altering. Thankfully, effective treatment can help alleviate your discomfort and prevent or reverse related complications.

At his Midtown Manhattan practice, double board-certified vascular and interventional radiologist Dr. Yosef Golowa specializes in varicocele embolization, a minimally invasive procedure that painlessly gets rid of varicoceles through a single needle puncture.

If you’re dealing with a varicocele, consider these important signs it’s time for treatment.

1. You have an abnormal semen analysis

About 15% of boys develop a varicocele, typically in the left testicle. While the condition may diminish on its own, semen analysis after age 16 can help determine whether or not you need treatment. If your semen analysis results seem normal, Dr. Golowa may recommend additional tests every 2-3 years. Abnormal results, such as unusually formed or poorly moving sperm, are a varicocele sign.

2. You’re struggling with infertility

When varicoceles lead to low sperm count, motility, or quality, you run the risk of infertility. That can happen even without any obvious symptoms. In fact, some people find out they have a varicocele while working through underlying causes of fertility challenges. When that’s the case, varicocele treatment could make pregnancy more feasible.

3. You’re experiencing pain and discomfort

Varicocele treatment can also help alleviate bothersome symptoms of varicoceles. While not everyone experiences them, varicocele symptoms may include a dull ache or heaviness in your scrotum or groin. Less often, varicoceles cause sharp pains. Pain you experience may worsen after standing for a while or exercising, and let up when you lie down.

4. You’re bothered by low testosterone levels

Low testosterone, the male sex hormone, can lead to a range of challenges worth addressing. If your varicocele has lowered your testosterone levels, you could experience fatigue, reduced libido, lower muscle mass, depressed moods, and erectile dysfunction (ED). Appropriate varicocele treatment can help turn these issues around.

What to expect from varicocele embolization

Varicocele embolization is performed on an outpatient basis, and you can resume your usual activities a day later. During the procedure, guided by X-ray technology, Dr. Golowa inserts a catheter into a vein in your groin. Through that tube, he places a medication or coil in the affected vein to block blood flow. Once that’s done, your body naturally redirects blood to other veins, preventing swelling.

To learn more about varicoceles or find out if varicocele embolization is your best treatment option, call our office or book an appointment with Dr. Golowa through our website today.