What causes varicoceles and how can I prevent them? – Nirogam

Varicocele is a condition in which the blood is unable to travel through the veins of the scrotum normally. The blood pools inside the major vein, pampiniform plexus, causing a blockage. Similar to varicose veins in the leg, varicoceles may result in pain and swelling.

The scrotum is the loose bag containing the testicles. In the case of varicoceles, the arteries that supply blood to the reproductive glands do not function normally. The veins become enlarged and appear to be entangled making it look like lots of worms wriggling beneath the skin. That is why varicocele is also referred to as the ‘bag of worms’.

How is Varicoceles caused?

It is believed to be caused due to failed valves in the veins of the scrotum. The blood flow to and fro from the heart is regulated by the valves situated in the arteries. If the valves turn defective the blood flows backward to the organ and forms a pool. This causes the veins to dilate and may cause swelling and pain. When puberty hits, the testicles grow rapidly and hence, need a lot of blood. Varicoceles generally takes place around that time as the valves are unable to handle the fast movement and pressure of blood flow. 

The anatomy of the male body is not the same on both sides. The left side of the scrotum needs more pressure to pump out blood from the scrotum to the heart. In 80%-85% of the cases, due to this, varicoceles occur on the left side of the scrotum. If it is mild, it may remain unnoticed for years until it causes fertility issues or pain. Due to slow blood movement, the temperature of the testes increases. Increased temperature may hinder the production of sperms or may produce low quality sperms leading to fertility issues.

Can Varicoceles be prevented?

Almost 10-15% of males across the world have varicoceles. But most of them are not even aware of it. Generally, if there is pain or swelling in the scrotum or if someone is not able to father a child, he visits a doctor. Until then, it skips attention. Medically, varicoceles cannot be prevented. There is no varicoceles medicine available that can help prevent it. The best way to keep it from causing discomfort is to keep the arteries healthy. If arteries behave healthily, varicoceles can be prevented. How to do that, you ask? Keep reading as we decode it for you-

  • Quit smoking

    For a youngster, smoking seems like an adventure. But that smoke not only affects the lungs but also builds up plaque in the arteries and veins. So if you want to have a healthy arterial blood supply, quit smoking. Since varicocele is a disease essentially caused by the failure of an artery, it is important that all the veins and arteries function at their optimum levels. Smoking is definitely a hindrance to it. 

  • Include healthy food in your diet

    A diet should always be wholesome with food included from different food family groups. Include leafy green vegetables, fruits, nuts, poultry, and fish specifically, as these foods are known to improve heart health. They are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids which help relieve inflammation caused by damaged blood vessels. Avocados are a must as they are full of Omega 3 fatty acids. Stay away from junk and processed food as much as possible. They form deposits in the veins and deteriorate the vein health. To stay away from varicoceles your veins should be functioning smoothly without any barrier to enable the blood flow to and fro from the heart.

  • Exercise Regularly

    This point cannot be emphasized enough. Come on! We all know it, yet we tend to underestimate it. Not only varicoceles, regular exercise can keep so many health issues at bay. Only if we did it as religiously as we have that cup of coffee! 

    Physical activity, in any form, promotes healthy blood circulation in the body. It can be in any form – walking, swimming, cycling, gymming, anything which makes you sweat out. This has a tremendously positive impact on the veins and arteries. It keeps them healthy and pumping. It could be a combination of moderate to intensive workouts. Children between the age group of 6-17 years should be doing at least an hour of these physical intensive activities every day.

  • Stay hydrated

    Approximately 70% of our body is made up of water. Generally, a human body can survive 30-40 days without food but not more than 3 days without water. Yes, water is that important to us. So what makes you think that without an ample amount of this component your body will function to its fullest? It won’t. The blood will start thickening causing problems in circulation. As it is, due to the male anatomy, the left side of the scrotum needs additional pressure to push the blood towards the heart. With thicker blood, the pressure is bound to increase causing the failure of valves and pooling of blood leading to varicoceles. To prevent this, drink plenty of water in a day. This will help in maintaining  blood circulation and will also pump out toxins from your body.

    As we said no varicoceles treatment can prevent it.  However, changing your lifestyle into a healthy one can help you avoid letting it get out of hand. Even if you do contract this disease, there are ways where varicoceles treatment without surgery can be done. You do not necessarily have to go under the knife. And if you are mindful of your lifestyle you can definitely treat your varicoceles without it.

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