If you’re experiencing problems with your urinary tract or reproductive organs, our experienced team of Houston men’s urologists can help.


Our Houston urologists diagnose and treat varicoceles

Varicoceles are varicose veins that occur in the veins located in the scrotum. Normally, these veins move blood from the testicles. But sometimes, blood doesn’t circulate properly, so it pools up, creating enlarged scrotum varicose veins. It’s similar to a varicose vein in the leg. About 15% to 20% of men will develop a varicocele in their lifetime. 

A varicocele may cause mild symptoms or none at all

 Most men aren’t aware that they have a varicocele. Often, they discover the problem during a self-examination or at an annual wellness appointment. Here are the most common symptoms. 

  • Aching in the scrotum or dull pain in the testicles that can improve when lying down 
  • Swollen testicles or scrotum 
  • A small lump above the testicle 
  • Testicles shrinking 

 Men who have symptoms, or who feel varicose veins in their scrotums, should contact our Houston urologists for a physical to determine whether they have a varicocele or another problem that needs to be treated. 

Scrotum varicose veins can cause complications for some men

Varicoceles, particularly larger varicose veins, can increase men’s risk for certain complications. 

  • Low testosterone levels 
  • A decline in sperm over time 
  • A condition called azoospermia, in which semen doesn’t contain any sperm 
  • Fertility problems 

 Some studies indicate that a varicocele may cause erectile dysfunction issues. 

 Varicoceles can cause fertility problems

Men who haven’t been able to conceive a child with their partner after having unprotected sexual intercourse for one year – or six months if their partner is age 35 or older – should see a physician to see what is causing the couple’s fertility issues. Male reproductive issues cause about one-third of fertility problems. The most common problems are related to proper testicular function.   

Varicoceles can cause several issues that affect fertility, including low and/or declining testosterone levels that cause declining levels of sperm or motility issues. Our physicians can determine if a varicocele or another issue is causing infertility. 

Diagnosing and treating a varicocele

 Our urologists may feel a varicocele during an exam, or a man may feel something at home. Men often say that scrotum varicose veins feel like a bag of worms. Our physicians do a physical examination, then order an ultrasound of the scrotum if they need more information. They may also order bloodwork and a semen analysis. 

Men who don’t have irritating symptoms or fertility issues may not need treatment. If they have pain, they can avoid tight underwear, apply ice packs or take over-the-counter medications. Men who need treatment will probably need a varicocelectomy, a surgery to block the blood flow from the affected vein. Most patients do not have any complications and fully recover in six weeks. 

 Our Houston urologists have the training and skill to help men deal with a varicocele and any complications or fertility problems it causes. Contact us to make an appointment.