Home / Conditions / Varicocele

Enlarged Veins Behind Your Testicle?

Think of it as varicose veins behind the testicle. These enlarged, distended veins often cause no symptoms but should be treated. Learn more.


What is Varicocele?

A varicocele is an enlargement of the veins of the pampiniform plexus (the veins that drain blood from the testicle). Varicoceles can range in size from barely detectable to very large veins which are visible and typically described as a “bag of worms.” Most varicoceles cause no symptoms and are usually detected during an evaluation for infertility. Occasionally, varicoceles may cause discomfort.


What are the symptoms of Varicocele?

Most patients with a varicocele have no symptoms. But you may experience testicular pain, often described as a dull ache.


What causes Varicocele?

There are no known causes of varicoceles. A left varicocele is much more common than a right varicocele. Occasionally, patients may have varicoceles on both sides.


How is Varicocele diagnosed?

What to know before your visit to MidLantic Urology in Philadelphia and surrounding counties: 

  • If you have had prior testing for a varicocele (and ultrasound or semen analysis) you should bring the results to your evaluation.

Other tests that may be performed during or after your visit: 

  • Varicoceles are usually detected by physical examination. An ultrasound of the scrotum may be helpful in confirming the presence of a varicocele.
  • Your physician may request a semen analysis to see if the varicocele is influencing testicular function/sperm production.


How is Varicocele treated?


There are no non-surgical treatments for varicoceles.


Varicoceles are either treated by an outpatient surgical procedure (varicocelectomy) or embolization of the varicocele. The surgical varicocele repair involves making a small groin incision and ligating (tying off) the abnormally dilated veins. Embolization of a varicocele involves blocking the blood flow to the abnormally dilated veins internally by inserting metal coils.

Advantages and disadvantages of each procedure can be discussed with your physician.

Schedule an appointment with a MidLantic Urology Physician near you today!

Find a Location Button
Find a Doctor Button