T Nation

Suggestions for Treating Varicoceles?

Yeah, if you know what that is, you know just how much it pisses us guys off.

I was recently diagnosed with a varicocele and I was curious what other guys who have had them did about it? After some searching in the forums here and other sites, it seems like the only true solution is surgery (or just ignore it and deal with it).

So, I’m here to ask, if you had a varicocele, what did you do and how did it affect your training, health, etc? I’m trying to figure out the best route to take. I am definitely experiencing a decrease in T due to it and there is just way too much information out there and not enough personal anecdotes.

Btw, I’m not quite 35, but will be soon, so hopefully I won’t be beaten for posting here. :wink:

What are your symptoms? I was told I had one 10 yrs ago, left it alone. Had 2 kids after diagnosis Have not had any problems with it.

[quote]dclarkjr wrote:
What are your symptoms? I was told I had one 10 yrs ago, left it alone. Had 2 kids after diagnosis Have not had any problems with it.[/quote]

Constant dull pain due to the inflammation/constriction of blood flow and apparently decreased T. Definite enlargement of the veins, which appear to be affecting both sides.

I haven’t done a check on whether sperm health has been affected but I’ll be getting that checked. Not that I want kids, but it’d be good to know.

I forgot to include that the urologist I saw prescribed NSAIDs and a low-grade antibiotic (just in case there was infection causing the inflammation and pain). They mentioned that they thought about doing a needle biopsy to verify whether an infection was present but they didn’t want to do that unnecessarily.

They told me to take the meds for a couple weeks and see what happens. If nothing, call them back and schedule the ultrasound. I suppose there has been a general reduction in overall discomfort but it’s still there. Been on the meds for a week now.

This can also be a common “side effect” to a vasectomy (usually the left side). I think I may have developed one after my recent vasectomy (1/18) but other than the mass I really haven’t had any trouble and I’ve been lifting very heavy the last couple weeks. It was pretty bad about a week after the proceedure and went back to my urologist who said everything would be fine.

I did continue with the Ibuprofen for a couple weeks and wore tight undees for 3-4 weeks but no antibiotic. My understanding is there’s not a lot to be done unless you undergro surgery to remove some of the offending mass. Good luck my friend.

Not sure what to tell you. Mine only bothered me for a couple of days, then the pain went away. The decision is between you and your dr. I would go conservative on the treatment if it was me, but, it is your nuts. Good luck.

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[quote]bushidobadboy wrote:
How about ice?

Should desensitise and de-inflame the tissue.

Bushy[/quote]

Good call Bushy, I forgot to add that under my treatment…frozen peas anytime I was at home and sitting down. Best technique I used was a pair of tight undees, bag of frozen peas, then another pair of undees or shorts that would hold it all in place. Played lots of x-box too.

It is most commonly on the left side because of vascular anatomy. I use to know this when I was studying for medical boards, but I think its because the left spermatic vein dumps directly into the left femoral which creates higher pressure than the right which takes an extra turn before hitting the femoral.

Anyway, one suggestion is quit pounding it with your fist.

[quote]Fawkes wrote:
It is most commonly on the left side because of vascular anatomy. I use to know this when I was studying for medical boards, but I think its because the left spermatic vein dumps directly into the left femoral which creates higher pressure than the right which takes an extra turn before hitting the femoral.

Anyway, one suggestion is quit pounding it with your fist.[/quote]

Good job Fawkes!! See you did remember something when you were cramming. Yeah I read about it online when I was trying to figure out what was going on. Interesting how the blood drains completely different out of the two.

Thank you everyone for tuning into Nut Talk…

[quote]Fawkes wrote:
It is most commonly on the left side because of vascular anatomy. I use to know this when I was studying for medical boards, but I think its because the left spermatic vein dumps directly into the left femoral which creates higher pressure than the right which takes an extra turn before hitting the femoral.

Anyway, one suggestion is quit pounding it with your fist.[/quote]

Funny that you mention fists. The incident that finally got me worried enough to see the doc (it had been aching for a while but it was barely noticeable) involved me weight-training with a couple friends when one of them decided that punching me in the nuts would be funny (it truly was uncalled for, as we were just giving each other shit while weight-training and he got over-excited, I guess; very emotional guy with issues = fun!).

My nuts hurt for four days, and considering that the punch wasn’t that hard, told me that something was wrong. In fact, it really hasn’t stopped hurting since then.

As for the ice, yeah, I have been icing but maybe not as much as I should. It’s hard to do that at work without looking like I wear a diaper. :smiley: I’ll start icing more tonight at home.

I have bi-lateral varicoceles as well. Bummer is that it has affected fertility with me.

If having kids is not an issue for you, the surgery really becomes your individual choice (as opposed to one that would affect your wife/girlfriend, too). It could help some with your pain. As you know, T levels go down as you reach 35, so it’s hit or miss with increasing your numbers significantly.

You could try supplementing with T-Boosters (tribulus, Alpha Male). The surgery is routine, but is no small potatoes. You’ll be out of work for about 5 days. Out of the gym for 4 weeks, minimum.

I decided not to have the surgery as it would have helped my problem, but not enough to actually make a difference (what they call a clinical improvement…my numbers would go up, but not enough to acheive fertility).

Good luck with it. Keep us informed on what you decide. If you have any questions, let me know. I’m pretty well informed on this issue.

The reason a varicocoele is an issue with fertility is that the increased blood flow increases the temperature of the teste resulting in lowered fertility (if I remember right). I had/have a left varicocoele and 4 kids - no surgery. The varicocoele was bad from the time I was 17 until about 37, and it has decreased alot in the last 8 years or so.

I got the varicocoele my junior year in high school after this girl I was messing around with gave my nut sack a tug (I think on accident) and it destroyed things right then and there. My dating life in high school was not unlike the main character in 40 year old virgin.

I had one in my early teens. Followed my doctors advice and underwent surgery. From what I understand, rather than remove it they clamp the vessel to restrict blood flow which eventually caused the excess tissue to atrophy. I was up and about just a day or two after the surgery (I was told to avoid physical activity for about a month however) and have had no problems ever since.

Thanks for all the input, gentlemen. I’ll update the thread as I get more info. I’ll be getting back with the doc soon.

With just wearing athletic support and tighter undies the discomfort has gone away substantially, though the short run of NSAIDs may have helped.

However, it does appear that the right side varicocele has gotten bigger. There does not appear to be any noticeable atrophy in either testicle at this point, however I am not sure if there hasn’t been as I really wasn’t in the habit of measuring the size of my nuts. :slight_smile:

Well, here it is, about six months later and everything has pretty much gone to shit.

I’ve been on several runs of antibiotics and anti inflammatory meds, and the urologist says that it’ll probably never get any better than it is now, which is a barely noticeable ache (which sometimes flares up a little). He said that surgery isn’t likely to reduce the discomfort and that I’ll essentially have to live with it.

However, I have also experienced a major drop is T since diagnosis and I’m not really sure what to do. I did find some studies that showed that a guy who has low T and a varicocele, who gets a varicocelectomy, may see a signficant rise in T.

The urologist feels that the surgery isn’t the answer, though. I think I may need a 2nd opinion, as I’m just not feeling confident that this guy is looking at the big picture; main reason is that when I mentioned that I had found studies showing a correlation between low T and varicoceles, he seemed surprised and then downplayed it, even after I gave him the printouts.

My varicoceles are bilateral, but worst on the right side, which is quite uncommon. Ultrasounds have apparently ruled out any tumors, etc, so the doc pretty much has no clue what caused it.

I had spoken to another doc several months back who believed that it likely developed from intra-abdominal pressure built up from stress, exercise, wearing a cup during martial arts, etc, etc.

I’ll be doing the sperm sample thing soon, as my wife has insisted that she wants to know if I’m capable of having kids. I don’t necessarily want kids, but it’ll be good to know the state of things, I suppose.

So, the story continues, but so far it’s reading like a tragedy. :wink:

Given how I’ve felt, I’ve had low-T for years and I think I’ve had an undiagnosed varicocele for a very long time, perhaps since adolescence.

I am waiting to get the surgery done and my hope is that it boosts testosterone levels and my overall mood.

I was supposed to get a sperm test done, but I decided against it thinking I definitely was going to go with the surgery and there was no chance sperm count would be worse post-surgery.