The condition

varicocele conditionIn all boys, there are tubes carrying sperm and blood to the testicles. Testicular veins carry the blood back from the testicles towards the heart. Little valves inside the veins keep the blood flowing one way and stop it from flowing backwards.

Sometimes these valves don’t work properly. When this happens, some of the blood can flow backwards and make the veins stretch and get bigger.


Who Gets Them?

Although they don’t happen to every boy, varicoceles are common. They appear in about 1 in every 6 boys and young men between 15 and 25 years old. That is because during puberty, the testicles grow rapidly and need more blood to be delivered to them.

An interesting fact is that varicoceles occur mostly on the left side of the scrotum because of the way the blood vessels are organised in the body.


What Problems Can Varicoceles Cause?

Most boys have no symptoms at all. If there are symptoms, they tend to happen during hot weather, after heavy exercise, or when standing for a long time. You can get:

  • a dull ache in the testicle(s)
  • the bag of skin around the testicle (scrotum) can look like it has worms in
  • the testicle can get smaller and not work so well
  • fertility problems

Please use this link to print the following information leaflet about varicoceles