About 15% of men have varicose veins on their testicles. These varicose veins are also known as varicoceles. Sometimes, men with varicoceles have no fertility issues, but the condition is much more common in men who have fertility problems. Below, we’ll explore the causes, effects on fertility, and treatment of varicoceles.
What are Veins on My Testicles?
Varicoceles are enlarged, hardened, dilated veins that are visible from the surface of the skin. They may have a purplish or reddish appearance. They are usually painless, but you may feel pain or itching. These veins develop when blood pools in the vein, as may occur if there is a problem with circulation. However, the exact causes and risk factors for varicoceles are not well understood.
Effects on Fertility
As mentioned above, about 15% of men experience varicoceles. Many of these men don’t notice any fertility problems, and are able to easily conceive with their partners. However, the rate of varicoceles is much higher among men with infertility – about 40%. If you’re having trouble with conception and also have varicoceles, your doctor will evaluate your sperm quality and count. Doctors suspect that the condition has a negative effect on sperm, perhaps by raising the temperature of the testicles.
If you have varicoceles, have not had success in trying to conceive, and also have sperm samples that tested abnormally, your doctor may recommend that your varicoceles are treated. This is done by tying or closing off the vein from the rest of the blood supply. Once closed off, the body will reabsorb the vein, and other veins will take up the task of supplying the area with blood. If the vein is very large, it may be necessary to “strip” it, or physically remove the vein from the testicles.
If you continue to struggle with fertility after this procedure, then your doctor may recommend fertility treatments. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a cost-effective method to treat infertility in cases where the man has a low sperm count or poor sperm quality.
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