Varicocele and fertility
Varicocele is the name given to an anatomical variation of the scrotal veins that are dilated.
It affects approximately 15% of all men and is usually diagnosed by clinical examination. Sometimes the diagnosis is made by ultrasound, in which case it is called a subclinical varicocele. It is more common on the left side, and may be bilateral.
In most men it has no clinical implications, being able to produce local pain in less than 5% of cases.
Less than half of men with varicocele have reduced sperm count and/or motility that may compromise their reproductive potential. This has been related to an increase in local temperature as a consequence of the pool of blood generated by the dilation of the veins.
Men who experience pain associated with varicocele may consider going for surgical treatment to correct it, as well as those with infertility and altered seminal parameters. Those with normal seminal parameters do not require treatment.
Although varicocele surgery rarely has complications, cases of bleeding, infections, testicular lesions or derivatives of anesthesia may occur.
About 10-15% of men who undergo surgery have a recurrence or persistence of the varicocele after surgery.
“In the vast majority of cases of couples who consult for infertility, where the man presents varicocele, these usually have a seminal quality that allows for some assisted reproduction treatment (intrauterine insemination or in vitro fertilization) without the need to resort to surgery Therefore, its performance is suggested in case of presenting local pain or in highly developed varicoceles after achieving pregnancy.”