Varicoceles occur in men when the veins that carry blood from your testes to your heart get swollen and stretched. Doctors aren’t sure what causes a varicocele, but they think it develops when the valves in your veins don’t close completely.

Varicoceles don’t always cause problems, but they can cause a low sperm count or male infertility. They can also make your testicles shrink.


The condition may sometimes cause pain and swelling. Varicoceles can cause a lump in your scrotum or make the veins on it look blue and ropey, like varicose veins. Men often describe them as looking like a bag of worms. Varicoceles sometimes get worse over time, which can make them more noticeable and aggravate your symptoms. 


Varicocele symptoms are similar to symptoms caused by other, more serious conditions. That's why it’s important to see your Aurora urologist to find out what’s going on. 

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, give you a physical exam and sometimes an ultrasound to confirm your diagnosis. Then he or she will work with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Services & Treatment

If your varicocele isn’t causing problems, your doctor may not recommend treating it. If you’re experiencing pain, infertility or shrinking of your testicles, your doctor may recommend a varicocele repair, also called a varicocelectomy.

There are 3 types of varicocele repairs:

  • Open or traditional surgery
  • Minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery
  • Percutaneous embolization

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