If you are experiencing pain or swelling within your scrotum, you may be dealing with a condition called a varicocele. Seeking professional evaluation and treatment is highly recommended to address any concerns and ensure proper care.
Vein Doctors Sydney can assist with several varicocele treatment options giving you relief from this uncomfortable condition. Don’t hesitate to contact us and schedule a consultation to get the appropriate care you need.
A varicocele is a condition characterised by the enlargement or swelling of veins within the scrotum. These veins are responsible for draining blood from the testicles.
In most cases, varicoceles do not cause any symptoms and are usually painless. However, some men with varicoceles may experience a dull ache or heaviness in the scrotum, especially after standing for long periods of time. In rare cases, varicoceles can also lead to low sperm production and infertility.
A varicocele is a collection of swollen veins in the scrotum.
The testicular veins, responsible for draining blood from the testicles, travel upwards from the scrotum through the groin and into the posterior region of the abdomen. Specifically, the left testicular vein connects with the left kidney vein, while the right testicular vein merges with the main central vein of the abdomen, known as the inferior vena cava. In normal circumstances, veins possess one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward. However, in cases of varicocele, these valves may be faulty or nonexistent. Consequently, blood backup can occur, leading to swelling and dilation of the affected veins.
When these valves fail to function properly, blood can pool, leading to vein enlargement and the development of a varicocele.
Varicoceles are more common on the left side of the scrotum. This is because the left testicular vein is longer and drains into the left renal vein at a 90 degree angle.
Varicoceles most often occur on the left side of the scrotum and frequently exhibit no noticeable signs or symptoms. However, if you are affected, you may encounter the following:
Varicoceles are more commonly found on the left testicle and often produce no signs or symptoms.
Varicoceles are usually diagnosed by a physical exam and/or scrotal ultrasound. If you have a varicocele, you can be seen by Dr. Ryan McConnell in his office.
At your appointment, Dr. McConnell will perform an ultrasound of your scrotum to confirm the presence of the varicocele and to see if it is on one or both sides. The ultrasound can also help to rule out other problems in the scrotum or kidneys that could be causing your symptoms.
Dr. McConnell will then discuss whether you are a candidate for varicocele embolisation and answer any questions you may have.
Varicoceles do not always need to be treated. However, if a varicocele is causing pain or discomfort, or if it is affecting fertility, it may be treated with varicocele embolisation or surgery.
There are two main treatment options for a varicocele:
It is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to treat varicoceles. It is considered a safe and effective option. It is usually performed as a day procedure and does not require general anesthesia. The procedure takes about 30 minutes to complete.
Dr McConnell specialises in performing varicocele embolisation in Sydney.
You can also undergo varicocele repair as another treatment option. This surgical procedure involves correcting the enlarged veins within the scrotum. The specific technique used may vary depending on the individual case.
There are two main types of varicocele repair surgery:
|Recovery Time||2 – 3 Weeks||1 – 2 days|
|Exercise Time||10 – 14 days before resuming physical activity||7 – 10 days physical activity|
|Sexual Activity||4 weeks before resuming sexual activity||1 – 2 weeks before resuming sexual activity|
|Hospital Stay||It’s not uncommon for surgical recovery to require an overnight stay in the hospital||It can be performed as an outpatient procedure|
|Scarring||It may leave some scarring, as you will have incisions and sutures||It does not require cutting, so there are no long-term scars|
Dr Ryan McConnell
BMBS, FRANZCR, CCINR
Dr McConnell is an Australian-trained Endovascular Specialist and Interventional Neuroradiologist, possessing extensive experience in minimally invasive procedures.
Annually, he performs more than 500 endovascular procedures. His medical education began at Flinders University, where he earned a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery.
He completed specialty training in Radiology at Royal North Shore Hospital, followed by a Fellowship in Interventional Radiology and a two-year Fellowship in Neurointervention, for which he was awarded CCINR accreditation.
Dr McConnell holds consultant visiting medical officer positions at Northern Beaches Hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and Nepean Private Hospital. He remains actively involved in medical student/registrar teaching and research.
Our Open Hours:
8:30 am – 5 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
Our Open Hours:
8:30 am – 5 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
If you require more information on varicoceles, please read our most frequently asked questions:
While varicoceles are generally not considered dangerous, they can cause discomfort, mild pain, and potentially affect fertility. It is important to seek medical evaluation and treatment to address any concerns and prevent potential complications.
Varicocele is a condition in which the veins in the scrotum become enlarged and twisted. Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis, which is a tube that carries sperm from the testicle to the vas deferens. However, both conditions can occur simultaneously and may share common risk factors.
While there is no definitive evidence that varicocele can cause epididymitis, some studies have shown that men with varicoceles are more likely to develop epididymitis. This may be because varicoceles can increase the temperature of the testicles, which can make them more susceptible to infection.
If you have a varicocele and are experiencing severe pain or swelling in your scrotum, it is important to see a doctor to rule out epididymitis or other conditions.
A varicocele is a chronic condition that typically persists unless treated. Without intervention, the symptoms and potential fertility issues associated with varicoceles may persist indefinitely.
To alleviate varicocele pain, try these simple steps:
It is advisable to consult with your doctor to discuss and explore further treatment options tailored to your specific condition.
Yes, it is generally possible to undergo a vasectomy even if you have a varicocele. However, it is important to discuss your specific situation with a healthcare professional who can provide personalised advice based on your medical history and condition.
Testosterone, the primary male sex hormone, is produced by cells within the testicles. A connection has been observed between varicoceles and low testosterone levels.
The increased temperature in the testicles and impaired metabolite clearance associated with varicoceles may contribute to decreased testosterone production. It’s worth noting that patients may experience symptoms of low testosterone even if the varicocele is not visible during a physical examination.
Common symptoms include:
40% of subfertile men have a varicocele. There is a well-known connection between varicoceles and male subfertility. While the exact cause remains uncertain, it is believed to be due to elevated testicular temperature and impaired blood flow. The accumulation of blood in the varicocele raises the testicular temperature, resulting in reduced sperm count and quality.
Varicocele treatment can help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with the condition. By improving blood flow and reducing pressure on the affected vein, treatment aims to relieve symptoms and enhance overall comfort.
There is a possibility of varicocele recurrence after treatment, although it is relatively uncommon. The risk of recurrence can be minimised by choosing an appropriate treatment method and having the procedure performed by an experienced doctor.
Varicoceles themselves do not cause testicular cancer. However, it is important to note that both conditions can occur simultaneously. Varicoceles are enlarged veins within the scrotum, while the latter involves the abnormal growth of cells in the testicles. If you have concerns about testicular health or notice any abnormalities, it is crucial to seek medical evaluation from a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and appropriate course of action.
Engaging in moderate physical activity and exercise like biking, swimming and walking is generally safe with a varicocele. However, it is advisable to listen to your body and avoid strenuous exercise that causes pain or discomfort in the scrotal area. If you experience worsening symptoms during exercise, you should talk to your doctor. They can advise you on the best exercises for you and help you to develop a safe and effective workout routine.
The recovery time for testicular varicocele embolisation is typically short, with patient’s able to return to most normal daily activities the day after the procedure. Strenuous physical activities, heavy lifting and exercise should be avoided for a few weeks after the procedure to optimise healing.