What Is a Varicocele?

If you have never heard of the word “varicocele,” you’re not alone. While the term may not come up in everyday conversation all that often, it is one of the most common issues adult men experience (whether they know it or not). In fact, at least 15% of all men have a varicocele. So, what is it, and how worried should you be about it?

A varicocele is the abnormal swelling or dilation of varicose veins around a testicle. Since these veins transport oxygen-depleted blood out of the testicles and back toward the heart, this swelling means that the blood pools in the veins instead due to malfunctioning valves. The good news? A varicocele is usually not dangerous or life-threatening. As it often doesn’t cause any symptoms or problems, a varicocele can go unnoticed, undiagnosed, and/or untreated without serious ramifications. However, in certain situations, delaying or forgoing treatment can have consequences.

Varicocele Frequently Asked Questions

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