You are here:

Urology/Varicose veins?

Advertisement


Question
Hi! I'm pretty sure that I might have varicocele in my left testicle. I also have noticed that I have a somewhat engorged vein underside my penis near the frenulum, under the foreskin. This vein is blue/green, varicose vein maybe?
  If I'm correct about these varicocele/varicose vein in penis, does it mean that I certainly have or might have these varicose veins inside my penis and that my vein valves (that seal the blood to produce erections) would then be weaker than in a normal penis (that doesn't have varicose veins or varicocele)??
  Are there any herbs, vitamins, supplements that could strengthen veins and vein valves in penis and testicles?

Ps. I'm 24 years old, and I had a color doppler-exam earlier this year and the arterial inflow was good and the venous backflow was negative.

Answer
John, there is NO relationship between a varicocele and the vasculature of your penis.  Furthermore, the fact that you have had a color doppler-exam of the penis demonstrating normal arterial and venous function is further proof that no venous leak or other abnormality exists.

A varicocele is a collection of varicose veins of the spermatic cord (the rope-like structure that suspends each testicle).  They occur in about 15% of the population.  More than 90% occur on the left, 5% on the right and the rest are bilateral.  Varicoceles are due to a defective valve in the vein that drains blood from the testicle.  They fill by gravity and, therefore, are not detectable while recumbent but apparent when upright.  They may be more pronounced with coughing, straining or sexual arousal.  On examination, the lesion feels like a bag of worms.  Small varicoceles may only be detected by imaging studies such as ultrasound.  A varicocele that does not disappear when lying down may indicate a tumor in the abdomen (but this is quite unusual).  Varicoceles are generally painless.  Often men present to the doctor with pain in the testicle and the varicocele is discovered at that time.  In my experience, the pain is infrequently due to the varicocele and usually due to prostatitis (an inflammation of the prostate gland).  In other words, the varicocele is often an incidental and unrelated condition.   Other urologists, however, state that varicoceles can cause pain and that the pain is relieved by varicocelectomy in about 85% of cases.  However, surgery for relief of this type pain alone is usually a last resort treatment.

Varcioceles may cause an infertility problem manifest by lower sperm counts and increased numbers of immature sperm in the semen on analysis.  However, the majority of men with varicoceles do  NOT have infertility.  Of men who have abnormal semen analyses and varicoceles,  in about 70% of them, the 2 are related and fixing the varicolele often will improve their fertility.  The mean testosterone concentration of men older than 30 years of age with varicoceles was significantly lower than that of younger patients with varicoceles whereas this trend was not seen in men without varicoceles.  Repairing varicoceles appears to improve serum testosterone levels in most, but not in all men.  These findings indicate that varicoceles result in abnormal Leydig cell function (the testicular cells that produce testosterone) in some men, but these patients may also be the ones to most benefit from surgical repair.  Various studies cite the improvement in serum testosterone from 30-90%, most being in the 30-40% range.  

If a teenager or young men with a varicocele has a smaller than normal testicles on that side, there is an increase risk of infertility and many urologists consider this an indication to fix the varicocele surgically.   Other than for infertility, there are just a few indications for repairing a varicocele.  They can be fixed for cosmetic reasons or because they become too weighty.  There are several types of varicocele repair, but they all have in common occluding the vesssels supply in the varicocele rather than actually removing the veins.  This prevents blood from filling the varicocele.  Such techniques include formal open surgery, microsurgery, laparoscopic repair and venous embolization.  As with any procedure there are potential  complications.  These may include persistence of the varicocele, hematoma, hydrocele, damage to the ilioinguinal nerve and occasionally damage to the arterial supply of the testicle.  Because their is an accessory blood supply to the testes, there is controversy as to whether or not this definitively results in atrophy of the testis.  

To be sure about the diagnosis and get recommendations options for treatment (or not), consultation with a urologist is suggested.  There is no type of herbs, vitamins, or supplements that can strengthen the veins and venous valves.  Good luck.

Urology

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Arthur Goldstein, M.D.

Expertise

Problems or questions related to the field of urology; ie urinary stone disease, urinary cancers (kidney, bladder, prostate, testis, etc.), urinary infections, etc. I no longer answer questions related to erection problems or male sexual dysfunction.

Experience

I am retired from the active practice of urology. My 34 years was totally in the clinical field and involved the entire gamut of genitourinary problems, with special interest in endourology.

Organizations
American Medical Association, American Urological Association, American College of Surgeons

Education/Credentials
College degree - BS Medical degree - MD Master of Science - MS

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.