You and your partner have been struggling to achieve pregnancy. Meanwhile, you have a painful vein in your scrotum. Could the two be related? Quite possibly, if you’re dealing with varicoceles, which is an enlargement of varicose veins in the pouch (scrotum) surrounding your testicles.
Let’s take a closer look at varicoceles and infertility, including what to do when the two seem linked.
Varicoceles develop when blood pools up in the veins that transport oxygen-depleted blood away from your testicles. They often take form during adolescence and don’t always cause problems.
When symptoms do unfold, they may include:
Because other conditions may cause similar symptoms, a medical exam is important to confirm or rule out your varicocele issues.
While infertility isn’t technically a symptom of infertility, it’s a possible complication. In fact, some people learn they have a varicocele during the process of sorting through underlying causes of fertility problems.
Varicoceles can cause poor testicular development and a reduced sperm count, both of which can lead to infertility. Considered a common factor behind male infertility, varicoceles play a role in some 40% of cases. Varicoceles may also gradually worsen fertility, making it more difficult to achieve pregnancy a second or third time.
If you’re dealing with infertility and have a varicocele, you’re a candidate for treatment. The same applies if you’ve noticed other effects, such as pain or discomfort. And appropriate treatment can go far.
Research shows that varicocele treatment can improve fertility, and may be a smart first step in infertility programs. About two-thirds of patients experience enough improvement to co-achieve pregnancy at some point, and over 40% within one year.
At our office, Dr. Golowa specializes in varicocele embolization as an alternative to traditional surgery. This minimally invasive procedure treats your varicoceles using only a small needle and a tiny, flexible tube (catheter). By reducing blood flow to damaged veins, it allows your blood to flow normally through healthier veins instead.
You’ll feel comfortable during the procedure, experience fewer risks compared to surgery, and likely be able to get back to your usual activities within one day.
To learn more about male infertility from varicoceles, or to find out if you’re a candidate for embolization, call our office or book an appointment with Dr. Golowa through our website today.