How does varicocele affect me?
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It may cause infertility through a significant decrease in
the quality and quantity of the sperm. (For more in-depth information on
Semen Analysis, how they are done and what they indicate, go to
- It may cause damage to the testicles; they may not grow appropriately.
This damage is progressive - it will often worsen over time.
If an adolescent has a one sided varicocele, the testis on that side
may not develop as much as the other side and may be significantly
smaller. This is a serious consideration because smaller testis generally
produce significantly less sperm than normal sized testis. If the
varicocele is repaired during adolescence, the testis may experience catch
up growth and normalize in size. If it is repaired at a later age, the
testis will not improve in size, though it may often improve in sperm
production. The sperm production, however, will still not improve to the
same extent it would have had it been repaired earlier.
- It may cause discomfort leading to a heavy dragging feeling in the
- The testis, besides making sperm, also makes testosterone, the main
male hormone. Testosterone is responsible for a man's "secondary male
characteristics" (i.e., increased muscle mass and tone, level of sexual
interest, body hair). Varicoceles can damage the cells that make
testosterone and may lead to a decreased overall testosterone level.
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