Aside from accidental injury, the two most common problems that can adversely affect your testicles are varicocele (var-i-ko-seal) and hydrocele (hydro-seal).
Roughly 1 out of every 5 guys has a varicocele, which is a bundle of enlarged veins in the scrotum that can feel like a bag of worms. The veins are swollen because of defects in the tiny valves that normally keep blood moving forward in the veins that drain from the testicles. In a varicocele, the valves don’t work well, so the blood collects and swells the veins. That extra blood warms the testes unnaturally. This interferes with the cells that manufacture both sperm and testosterone, which are extremely temperature-sensitive.
Unfortunately, many guys don’t realize they have a varicocele unless it becomes really large and noticeable. A varicocele typically doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t interfere with orgasm or ejaculation. But both animal and human studies show that varicoceles can significantly reduce testosterone levels.
The good news is that fixing a varicocele can allow testosterone levels to rebound to their normal levels. The rebound is most pronounced in guys whose T-levels are on the low end of normal.
If you discover you have a varicocele there are several simple surgical fixes. They all involve tying off, or blocking, the distended veins in the scrotum. Which method is best depends on such things as the particulars of your anatomy, and the nature and location of the varicocele. Fixing a varicocele is likely to boost your testosterone levels and improve your sperm count and overall fertility.
A hydrocele occurs when fluid builds up between the thin layers that surround your testes inside your scrotum. This condition tends to occur in newborns and in older men. The excess fluid causes the scrotum to swell. This condition is usually painless, but if you begin experiencing significant discomfort, alert your doctor.
Hydrocele sacs can be opened, drained, and re-closed around the testes. Neither of these procedures usually requires an overnight hospital stay. Your scrotum will be tender for several days and will look bruised. Infection is uncommon, and hydroceles seldom recur following surgery.
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