Varicocele is painless swelling of blood vessels in the scrotum. The scrotum is the pouch that contains the testes in males.
Most blood normally flows out of the scrotum through a main vein. A faulty valve in this vein causes blood to back up into the scrotum and lead to varicocele.
You will be able to see or feel a varicocele. It is an enlarged or twisted vein in the scrotum. It may become larger when standing or straining. You may also see shrinkage of the testicles.
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor can make the diagnosis based on the physical exam.
An ultrasound may be done if complications are expected.
Treatment is not required in all cases.
Treatment may be done to block off the faulty vein and allow blood to flow out through other veins.
Reproductive Facts—American Society for Reproductive Medicine
Urology Care Foundation
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Tekgul S, Riedmiller H, et al. Varicocele in children and adolescents. Guidelines on paediatric urology. European Association of Urology. 2009;23-25.
Varicocele in children and adolescents. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115197/Varicocele-in-children-and-adolescents. Updated March 26, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2016.
Varicocele. Nemours Kid's Health website. Available at: http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/guys/varicocele.html. Accessed June 24, 2013.
Varicoceles. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=116. Accessed June 24, 2013.
Wein A, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, Elsevier; 2007.
Last reviewed January 2015 by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.