A varicocele is a group of enlarged veins that drain the blood supply from the testicles and are generally found in the sac of skin that holds testicles in males (scrotum).
Causes of Varicoceles in Younger Males
Varicoceles may develop due to problems with valves within scrotal veins that control blood flow. When this happens, the resulting backup causes veins in the scrotum to become larger, or swollen. While either side of the scrotum may be affected, varicoceles tend to develop on the left side because the left testicular vein inserts into the left renal vein in a 90-degree configuration and therefore most susceptible to backflow of blood.
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Symptoms & Reasons to Seek Treatment
- Sharp or dull discomfort felt in the scrotum
- Discomfort related to physical exertion in the lower abdominal or pelvic area
- Pain that becomes noticeable when standing, especially for extended periods of time
Diagnosing & Treating Varicoceles
- A pediatrician can usually make a diagnosis during a physical examination, especially if the swollen scrotal veins can be seen or felt.
- If there is a need to rule out other sources of pain in this area, image tests may be performed. Ultrasound of the testicles and scrotum is typically the imaging modality of choice to check the size of the testicles, the varicocele, and other potential findings in the scrotum.