Could This Be What's Causing Your Scrotal Pain?

Jun 08, 2023
Could This Be What's Causing Your Scrotal Pain?
Scrotal pain often stems from a varicocele, a common and treatable condition. Learn more about varicoceles, including how minimally invasive treatment can help.

If you’ve noticed pain in your scrotum, the pouch surrounding your testicles, you may be dealing with a varicocele. While this common condition isn’t usually dangerous or always noticeable, it can lead to uncomfortable or even excruciating symptoms. If that latter rings true for you, effective treatment can go far.

At his Midtown Manhattan practice, double board-certified radiologist Dr. Yosef Golowa specializes in varicocele embolization, an outpatient procedure that can bring you lasting relief.

Read on to learn more about varicoceles, including how this treatment can help. 

Varicoceles 101

Varicoceles are quite common, affecting about 15% of men. About 20% of teen boys have the enlarged veins, and about a quarter of those cases seem to resolve on their own.

They form when the group of veins within your scrotum grows abnormally large. Similar to varicose veins found in the legs, poorly functioning valves in the veins can cause the vessels to swell up. They’re also like varicose veins in that they’re sometimes painful and sometimes not.

A large varicocele may be visible from the outside, or feel like a small “bag of worms” in your scrotum. You might also notice that your testicles are no longer of about equal size. Smaller varicoceles may only be detected by an ultrasound.

When pain evolves, it can range from mild to severe. Often described as an aching sensation, the pain may worsen with lengthy activity or standing. Your scrotum pain may diminish once you lay down your back and elevate your feet.

When varicoceles need treatment

Varicoceles require treatment when they cause complications. In addition to scrotum pain, a varicocele may cause:

  • Impaired fertility
  • Decreased testosterone production
  • Scrotal discomfort
  • No sperm when you ejaculate (azoospermia)

Treatment options for problematic varicoceles include surgery and varicocele embolization. Both treatments redirect blood flow to healthier veins.

What to expect from varicocele embolization

While varicocele embolization tends to be as effective as surgery, it offers advantages, such as no need for an incision, fewer risks, and a faster recovery time. 

During the procedure, Dr. Golowa inserts a catheter into the femoral vein in your groin. He then moves that tiny tube to the varicocele, using X-ray imagery for guidance, and places a medication or coil in the vein to block blood flow. From there, your body naturally redirects blood to other veins. 

You won’t need a hospital stay for the procedure, and you can expect to get back to your usual activities within one day. 

To learn more about scrotal pain or find out if you’re a good candidate for varicocele embolization, call our office or book an appointment with Dr. Golowa through our website today.