VaricoceleWhat is varcocle---
In all guys, there's a structure that contains arteries, veins, nerves, and tubes - called the spermatic cord - that provides a connection and circulates blood to and from the testicles. Veins carry the blood flowing from the body back toward the heart, and a bunch of valves in the veins keep the blood flowing one way and stop it from flowing backward. In other words, the valves regulate your blood flow and make sure everything is flowing in the right direction.
But sometimes these valves can fail. When this happens, some of the blood can flow in reverse. This backed-up blood can collect in pools in the veins, which then causes the veins to stretch and get bigger, or become swollen. This is called a varicocele (pronounced: var-uh-ko-seel).
Who Gets Them?
Although they don't happen to every guy, varicoceles are fairly common. They appear in about 15% of guys between 15 and 25 years old, and they mostly occur during puberty. That's because during puberty, the testicles grow rapidly and need more blood delivered to them. If the valves in the veins in the scrotum aren't functioning quite as well as they should, the veins can't handle transporting this extra blood from the testicles. So, although most of the blood continues to flow correctly, blood begins to back up, creating a varicocele.
An interesting fact is that varicoceles occur mostly on the left side of the scrotum. This is because a guy's body is organized so that blood flow on that side of the scrotum is greater, so varicoceles happen more often in the left testicle than the right. Although it's less common, they can sometimes occur on both sides.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms?
In most cases, guys have no symptoms at all. A guy might not even be aware that he has a varicocele. However, if there are symptoms, they tend to occur during hot weather, after heavy exercise, or when a guy has been standing or sitting for a long time. Signs include:
a dull ache in the testicle(s)
a feeling of heaviness or dragging in the scrotum
dilated veins in the scrotum that can be felt (described as feeling like worms or spaghetti)
discomfort in the testicle or on that particular side of the scrotum
the testicle is smaller on the side where the dilated veins are (due to difference in blood flow)
♥ deoshlok on 2005-12-13
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