What is Male Infertility Due to Varicocele?
A varicocele is an enlargement of veins within the scrotum (the loose pouch of skin that holds the testicles). Veins contain one-way valves that allow blood to flow from the testicles and scrotum back to the heart. When the valves do not work, the blood pools in the veins.
The pooling of blood in these veins causes them to enlarge. The internal pressure and temperature may increase, possibly damaging the testicles and decreasing fertility.
Varicoceles can be diagnosed with one of three tests:
Physical Exam: A doctor examines the reproductive organs and surrounding areas to check for any abnormalities, such as varicoceles (enlarged veins in the scrotum) or other physical issues that could affect fertility.
Hormonal Analysis: This involves testing the levels of certain hormones in the blood, such as testosterone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). When hormones are not balanced, it can affect how sperm is made and a man’s ability to have a baby.
Seminogram (Semen Analysis): This is a test to analyze the quality and quantity of sperm in a semen sample. It checks factors like sperm count, motility (movement), and morphology (shape). This test helps assess the sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg.
Observation: if the varicocele is small and not causing significant discomfort or affecting fertility, a doctor might recommend monitoring the condition without immediate intervention. Regular check-ups would be scheduled to assess any changes.
Pain management: over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage discomfort caused by varicoceles.
Surgical repair: if the varicocele is causing discomfort or affecting fertility, a surgical procedure might be considered. There are several ways that surgery can be done:
open surgery (ligation): this involves making an incision in the groin and tying off the affected veins to redirect blood flow. This is done while you’re under general anesthesia.
Laparoscopic surgery: small incisions are made in the abdomen, and a tiny camera is used to guide the surgeon in performing the procedure with specialized instruments.
Percutaneous embolization: a minimally invasive procedure in which a catheter is threaded through a vein to the varicocele, and a small coil or other material is used to block off the blood flow.
Interventional radiologists offers minimally invasive, catheter-based treatments. These methods are often less painful, better tolerated and have quicker recovery time than conventional surgery.
Varicocele Embolization in Pune
Varicocele embolization (also known as “catheter-directed embolization”) is a minimally invasive treatment performed by interventional radiologists. First, a tiny incision is made in the groin. Next, a thin catheter, resembling a strand of spaghetti, is passed through the vein and directed towards the varicoceles.
After locating the varicoceles, the interventional radiologist injects tiny coils to prevent blood flow to the varicoceles, reducing the pressure in the veins. Throughout the treatment, the patient is awake but relaxed and pain free. Patients are observed for approximately 2-3 hours after the treatment before being discharged home on the same day.