There are many health conditions that can affect fertility in women. On the other hand, only a few maladies can cause males to become infertile. According to the experts, the leading cause of infertility in men is a condition known as varicocele. A rather common problem, it is said that 40% of all infertile men have it.
A varicocele is an enlarged vein or group of veins that are situated in the scrotum, which is a pouch of skin that contains the testicles. It is brought about by faulty valves found inside the affected blood vessel, causing blood to pool. This stretches the walls of the blood vessels, and thus the area becomes enlarged.
The presence of this condition causes blood to be diverted away from one or both testicles. Naturally, the deprivation of blood, nutrients and oxygen leads to the malfunctioning of the affected testicle. Eventually, the involved testicle may end up smaller and softer, thus affecting the way the testicle produces sperm.
Because of the pooling of the blood, the sperm cells may be exposed to toxins present. This can have an impact not only on the quantity of sperm but also the quality. Also, the presence of too much blood in the area may cause an alteration in the temperature in the scrotum. This can affect the number of sperms as well as their quality, health and motility.
Some of the symptoms of a varicocele include a dull, sharp or heavy discomfort in the scrotum and/or affected testicle, which tends to be alleviated when the patient is lying on his back. It’s not unlikely for the discomfort experienced to worsen as the day progresses. Also, there is a noticeable enlargement in the scrotum where the varicocele has developed.
Not all varicocele cases require medical treatment. Milder forms, in particular, may be managed through some simple natural solutions most especially if the condition does not pose a threat to the male’s fertility. On the other hand, it’s very important for a varicocele to be corrected if it causes pain or shrinkage of the affected testicle.
Definitely, medical treatment is warranted if the patient is intending to have a baby. The best way to have a varicoele dealt with is by surgery. It involves sealing off the affected blood vessel and directing the blood flow to a healthier blood vessel. Surgical treatment may help improve the quality and quantity of the sperm. In fact, it may even reverse infertility.
Cases of varicocele that require no surgery can be managed by means of some dietary and lifestyle changes. One of the goals of home management is to prevent the condition from worsening. Aside from the ones that are recommended by a specialist, here are some other effective ways to deal with a varicocele at home:
• Opt for a high-fiber diet. This helps ward off constipation. Straining is something that can cause a lot of pressure on a varicocele, thus causing it to enlarge further.
• Avoid anything that’s loaded with toxins. The likes of junk food, processed food, fatty food and alcohol can cause the accumulation of toxins in the body, and this may contribute to the problem.
• Include oily fish in the diet. Tuna, mackerel, trout, sardines and other oily fish are loaded with omega-3 fatty acids that are good for the health of the blood vessels.
• Consume fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants may help in maintaining the health of the sperm cells, keeping infertility at bay. If possible, go organic.
• Take over-the-counter pain medications. If discomfort is present, someone with a varicocele may take painkillers available OTC to attain relief.
• Refrain from taking hot baths or showers. High temperatures can cause the blood vessels to dilate, and this will only worsen a varicocele. When taking a bath or shower, the patient should go for cold or lukewarm water.