Test Your Fertility Knowledge

Q: What is varicocele?

  1. Another name for the chicken pox virus
  2. Enlarged veins in the scrotum
  3. A sore resulting from a damaged vein

A varicocele is a variation of normal anatomy in which veins in the scrotum (the sac that holds the testicles) become enlarged and sometimes even visible. Varicocele usually is first found at puberty and is much more common on the left side than on the right side. Sometimes it occurs on both sides.

It is not known how a varicocele might cause infertility. The most popular theory is that varicocele elevates the temperature of the scrotum because of dilated veins and pooling of blood.

Men with infertility and an abnormal semen analysis may consider varicocele treatment. Men with a normal semen analysis do not need to have varicocele treatment. Men who have pain associated with a varicocele can consider varicocele treatment. A subclinical varicocele does not require treatment.

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