Your doctor will conduct a physical exam, which may reveal a nontender mass above your testicle that feels like a bag of worms. If it's large enough, your doctor will be able to feel it. If you have a smaller varicocele, your doctor may ask you to stand, take a deep breath and hold it while you bear down (Valsalva maneuver). This helps your doctor detect abnormal enlargement of the veins.
If the physical exam is inconclusive, your doctor may order a scrotal ultrasound. This test, which uses high-frequency sound waves to create precise images of structures inside your body, may be used to ensure there isn't another reason for your symptoms. In certain cases, further imaging may be recommended to rule out other causes for the varicocele, such as a tumor compressing the spermatic vein.
Dec. 06, 2014
- Varicoceles. American Urological Association Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=116. Accessed Oct. 22, 2014.
- 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.
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