What is a varicocele?

A varicocele is an abnormal swelling of the veins that drain the testicles. This is present in 15% of adult men and becomes noticeable after puberty. This condition is more often associated with male factor infertility, although not everyone with varicoceles will have this problem. It can sometimes present with a heavy or dull aching sensation, and in severe cases it may affect the growth of the testicle.


This condition is easily identifiable on a scrotal exam, but to determine the true significance of the varicocele a scrotal ultrasound will be performed.


This condition is treated with a surgical repair, and is usually done when there is significant pain, abnormal testicular growth, or infertility.