Pathophysiology: None of the theories has been proved unquestionably, although an elevated heat effect caused by impaired circulation appears to be the most reproducible defect. Supporting this hypothesis is the fact that a varicocele created in an experimental animal led to poor sperm function with elevated intratesticular temperature. Although unproved, a varicocele may represent a progressive lesion that can have detrimental effects on testicular function.
Disease statistics: Varicoceles are common occuring in around 8% of Australian adult males. However, the true incidence is not known as the condition tends to be assymptomatic. It can affect virtually any male but commonly presents in adolescence and may be more common in tall, thin men and those from hot climates. Varicocoele is the most common cause of male infertility but up to two thirds of men suffering the condition will maintain their fertility.
Treatment: Medical Therapy: No effective medical treatments for varicoceles have been identified. While some investigators are evaluating the role of antioxidants for the treatment of elevated levels of reactive oxygen species, this treatment approach is still experimental. Surgical Therapy: The primary form of treatment for varicoceles is surgery.
Research: Percutaneous varicocele embolization using a sclerosant agent and pushable fibered coils is a promising therapeutic option that could help improve outcomes, according to researchers.