Varicoceles are enlarged veins inside the scrotum. One theory on the effects of varicoceles on fertility is that these enlarged veins may increase the temperature around the testicles, resulting in impaired sperm production.


Varicoceles are typically asymptomatic, but can occasionally be associated with an aching pain on standing for prolonged periods. An ultrasound can determine if a vein is enlarged. 


Currently there is no known cause for varicocele.


Varicocele can be surgically repaired through balloon surgery and microsurgery. An assisted reproductive procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may provide an option to help achieve pregnancy for couples who are experiencing fertility problems related to varicocele.

Controversy still exists as to whether or not varicocele actually affects fertility. Many men who have had the surgery see no improvement. Studies have shown that varicocele is present in fertile men as well.

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