A varicocele often produces no signs or symptoms. Rarely, it may cause pain. The pain may:
- Vary from sharp to dull discomfort
- Increase with standing or physical exertion, especially over long periods
- Worsen over the course of a day
- Be relieved when you lie on your back
With time, varicoceles may enlarge and become more noticeable. In young men, the presence of a varicocele impairs sperm production and can often be improved with treatment.
When to see a doctor
Because a varicocele usually causes no symptoms, it often requires no treatment. Varicoceles may be discovered during a fertility evaluation or a routine physical exam.
However, if you experience pain or swelling in your scrotum, discover a mass on your scrotum, notice that your testicles are different sizes, or develop a varicocele in your youth, or you're having problems with fertility, contact your doctor. A number of conditions can cause a scrotal mass or testicular pain, some of which require immediate treatment.
Dec. 07, 2014
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- Painless scrotal mass. The Merck Manual Professional Edition. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary_disorders/symptoms_of_genitourinary_disorders/painless_scrotal_mass.html. Accessed Oct. 22, 2014.
- Eyre RC. Evaluation of nonacute scrotal pathology in adult men. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 22, 2014.
- Masson P, et al. The varicocele. Urologic Clinics of North America. 2014;41:129.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2011: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05610-6..C2009-0-38600-6--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05610-6&about=true&uniqId=468779756-21. Accessed Oct. 22, 2014.
- Trost LW (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Oct. 23, 2014.
- Nork JJ, et al. Youth varicocele and varicocele treatment: A meta-analysis of semen outcomes. Fertility and Sterility: 2104;102:381.