"Change is inevitable, and change is constant." We're all a long way from the day we were born. Even science and technology have advanced so much that nothing is now considered impossible. Almost every ailment has a cure, and every problem, no matter how great or small, has a solution. Thanks to medical science and the internet, everything is at one's fingertips. All diseases are unpleasant, but there are a number of them that people are still hesitant to discuss. One of them is varicocele.
A varicocele is an enlargement of the veins within the loose bag of skin that holds your testicles (scrotum). It is a disorder in which the veins in the male scrotum that convey low-oxygen blood from the testicles back to the heart become enlarged due to an abnormal blood flow, and is caused by flaws in the network of veins or an aberrant blood flow. When this happens, the blood becomes trapped in the veins, preventing it from flowing freely, ultimately resulting in swelling. A varicocele is similar to a varicose vein you might see in your leg. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Mr. Puneet Aggarwal, Founder and CEO, Nirogam, about the condition varicocele and ways to manage it. Read further to know more about the condition.
Is Varicocele life threatening?
Varicocele can be absolutely painless in certain circumstances but in some cases it produces a great deal of discomfort and pain ranging from mild to moderate, and in rare cases, intense. Varicocele is not a life-threatening issue, but it is a severe illness. This is so because it can cause:
- Men's fertility complications which make it harder to conceive
- In dire cases, low testosterone levels leading to erectile dysfunction
- Testicular atrophy, or shrinkage of the testicles and scrotal discomfort
- Decrease in sperm count
- Low motility of the sperms or asthenozoospermia (sperms moving too slow)
- Inadequate sperm quality causing issues with conceiving.
Many varicocele patients do not require treatment and improve on their own over time. That is why varicoceles are frequently ignored until they cause a secondary condition or the symptoms deteriorate. However, if varicocele is appropriately diagnosed, it is essential to seek treatment as soon as possible to avoid other health problems and to prevent the condition from worsening. Varicocele treatment can be divided into two categories:
Varicocelectomy procedure is used to treat varicoceles. Surgical treatment can be divided into three categories:
I. Open surgery
This is a one-day operation that doesn't require staying in the hospital, and patients can go home just a few hours following the procedure. In this scenario, the urologist examines the groin to determine the vein source and then fixes it to restore blood flow. The procedure is carried out under general anaesthesia.
Microsurgery is essentially similar to open surgery but with the added benefit of a microscopic perspective that allows the surgeon to examine the problem area more clearly and better understand it. Compared to other surgery choices, it has a substantially higher success rate.
III. Laparoscopic surgery
A small incision in the belly is made, after which a tiny instrument is introduced via the neck or groin to see and remove the varicocele. It also necessitates the use of general anaesthesia.
There are several non-surgical options for treating varicocele, many of which are popular due to their high success rates and ease of use. These treatments need just minor dietary or lifestyle changes and the use of drugs and supplements. Here are some of them:
Yoga is capable of resolving a number of health ailments. Varicoceles can also be effectively treated with yoga by regularly practicing a few asanas. Legs on the wall posture, in which the upper body sits on a yoga mat on the floor, a pillow supports the lower back, and the legs are raised and supported by the wall, is one of the poses that helps with varicocele treatment. It aids in the improvement of lower-body blood circulation. It also aids in the cooling of the testicles and in relaxation and stress relief. Other positions that can aid varicocele treatment include Shavasana, Dhanurasana, and others. Pranayam and other breathing exercises aid the increase of blood flow and the reduction of stress.
Swimming is a great activity, and a great technique to keep the temperature of the testicles in check and is also one of the non-surgical options for varicocele treatment. It not only relieves tension, which is necessary for proper blood flows throughout the body, but it also aids in the cooling of the testicles, allowing them to retain their optimal temperature.
III. Cooling pads
Cooling pads are used to relieve pain and swelling around the testicles in the same way that hot pads ease pain and inflammation. An ice pack should be placed on the affected area over a layer of 2-3 towels so that the ice does not come directly into contact with the exposed skin causing more harm than benefit. Continuous application of cooling pads to the area helps reduce swelling and may be beneficial in the treatment of varicocele without surgery.
Meditation has a calming impact on both the mind and the body. It aids in alleviating stress and, as a result, increases blood flow throughout the body.
V. Diet awareness
Diet awareness is more important than ever to keep track of what you eat these days. There are various advantages to eating a diet rich in fibre, fruits, and vegetable that can promote a smooth blood flow throughout the body. Constipation, which is also a significant cause of varicocele, can be triggered by consuming too many chemicals in one's diet and eating a lot of processed food.
VI. Herbal Options
Herbal options can be extremely effective in treating and helping to manage varicoceles without requiring surgery. Several age old Ayurvedic formulations like Nirogam’s Varicocele Kit can help to relieve the inflammation, boost blood circulation and promote sperm count. These are all formulations made from good quality, pure herbs that do not cause any harm or side effects but are potent enough to relieve the symptoms and address the root cause.
VII. Purchasing special varicocele underwear
This underwear is available in the market to assist people with varicoceles. Boxers are a typical term for this not-so-fancy underwear. They give optimal support for the scrotum while allowing regular blood flow around the area. The undergarments must be the proper fit, neither tight nor loose to guarantee sufficient blood flow and regulate the temperature of the testicles.
VIII. Health supplements
Taking health supplements such as zinc, bioflavonoids, vitamin C, and vitamin E twice or three times a day can help cure varicoceles. That is because our diets often lack these necessary vitamins. However, you should seek medical counsel before starting any health supplement to avoid aggravating any pre-existing health problem.
Varicoceles can be exceedingly inconvenient and can lead to various difficulties if not treated promptly. However, most men are hesitant to admit that they have a problem, which causes the condition to worsen until it is no longer treatable without medicine. The above tips and remedies can help you manage varicoceles better and even avoid surgery. Looking after yourself is the key to a healthy mind and body.