Male Infertility Treatments

Nonsurgical Treatment for Male Infertility Caused By Varicoceles

Highly Effective, Widely Available Treatment is Underutilized

A varicocele is a varicose vein of the testicle and scrotum that may cause pain, testicular atrophy (shrinkage) or fertility problems. Veins contain one-way valves that work to allow blood to flow from the testicles and scrotum back to the heart. When these valves fail, the blood pools and enlarges the veins around the testicle in the scrotum to cause a varicocele. Open surgical ligation, performed by a urologist, is the most common treatment for symptomatic varicoceles. Varicocele embolization, a nonsurgical treatment performed by an interventional radiologist, is as effective as surgery with less risk, less pain and less recovery time. Patients considering surgical treatment should also get a second opinion from an interventional radiologist to ensure they know all of their treatment options. You can ask for a referral from your doctor, call the radiology department of any hospital and ask for interventional radiology.

Prevalence

  • Approximately 10 percent of all men have varicoceles – among infertile couples, the incidence of varicoceles increases to 30 percent
  • Highest occurrence in men aged 15-35
  • As many as 70-80,000 men in America may undergo surgical correction of varicocele annually

What are the symptoms of Varicoceles?

Pain – aching pain when an individual has been standing or sitting for long periods of time and pressure builds up on the affected veins. Typically, painful varicoceles are prominent in size.

Fertility Problems – There is an association between varicoceles and infertility. The incidence of varicocele increases to 30 percent in infertile couples. Decreased sperm count, decreased motility of sperm, and an increase in the number of deformed sperm are related to varicoceles. Some experts believe that blocked and enlarged veins around the testes, called varicoceles, cause infertility by raising the temperature in the scrotum and decreasing sperm production.

Testicular Atrophy – Shrinking of the testicles is another sign of varicoceles. Often, once the testicle is repaired it will return to normal size.

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Dr. Kevin L. Carson

Dr. Carson


Dr. Sendhil Subramanian

Dr. Subramanian

Did You Know?

Approximately 10% of all men have varicoceles- among infertile couples, the incidence of varicoceles increases to 30%.