Common in men, varicoceles occur when blood is trapped within one or several of the veins in the scrotum. Swelling, pain and a decrease in sexual function can follow; if a varicocele is left untreated, men may also experience infertility and chronic pain.

A varicocele can be caused by an injury or a defect in valves near the pelvis, and it can happen to any man. However, varicoceles do not go away independently; they typically require surgery. This condition can cause serious long-term effects, so it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms and be aware of your treatment options.

Diagnosing a varicocele

Varicoceles are a fairly common genital complication for men: It’s believed about 15 percent of men will experience at least one varicocele in their lifetime. However, unless swelling or aching occurs in the scrotum, it can be difficult to self-diagnose, though that doesn’t mean you shouldn