VARICOCELE...can it effect testosterone?
06-24-2012 01:17 AM
I noticed a lump a few weeks after a bad hit in the crotch. Its about pea sized even lying down (level 2?). I'm mid 30s and I would have noticed if it had been there before, so I'm pretty sure the injury is the cause. Doc said it's varicocele (=V) and not to worry about it. I asked about atrophy and T levels. He said the other one would make up for any defect and V won't affect T production because only sperm is affected by temp.
It seems like most of the people who have problems have V in both. I don't like the idea of relying on just one, but I guess it works. I might consider surgery even if it's out of pocket, but only if its really going to help. So here are my questions.
How is V different if it starts as an adult?
If only one is affected will it affect T levels or will the good one compensate like the doc said?
How long does it take to significantly atrophy from medium level V? Weeks, months, years?
Does atrophy get worse and worse or does it stabilize? Does it depend on the extent of the V?
Is the damaged area more likely to suffer re-injury?
Assuming no further injury, will new veins be affected by the added strain?
Will surgery prevent atrophy and preserve T production? I've heard people say it won't usually reverse it but might prevent.
06-24-2012 11:27 PM
Depends on the severity but if it does affect test production it's usually not massive, then again at your age it would most def have an effect.
06-25-2012 02:06 AM
There is new research showing that varicoceles ARE linked to ED.
06-25-2012 08:40 AM
is the researcher the same one who is the ONLY one who says correction of a varicocele leads to increased testosterone?
Originally Posted by fathom777
and to salaryman...i had NO atrophy after 20+ years of a massive grade 3 (it was visible from 20+ feet away). I have a had time believing that one hit alone caused a varicocele, my brother had some big hits in the nuts growing up, including one that had his sacks the size of grapefruits and he has no varicocele at all. Chances are you already had it and never noticed and the hit caused some swelling that made it more noticeable. You have dozens of veins coming off your testicles so loss of function of a few is not a big deal...
07-01-2012 01:56 PM
Hi everyone, I'm new here and just want to say this forum is extremely helpful.
I have had a varicocele on my left testicle for as long as I can remember, but it didn't start getting painful until I hit 30 (I'm 32 now). At least 3 days per week I'm in pain, sometimes so bad I have to walk with a limp. My urologist wasn't concerned and basically told me to take ibuprofen and live with it. Well, I have taken so much ibuprofen that I now have a stomach ulcer, and I'm at the point of using Lortab just to get through the day.
I went and saw a radiologist about having an embolization done and he was extremely helpful, I have a surgery scheduled in two weeks. My only concern is that I had a double phase abdominal CT scan due to kidney stones, and now I worry the radiation from the embolization would be too much on top of the CT. So, I now have an appointment with a new urologist in the morning to discuss microsurgery, and get a second opinion. I would much rather have the embolization due to it being less invasive, but all of that radiation does scare me.
I'm sure my varicocele is grade 3, because after a day of standing its REALLY swollen and hanging. In fact it's so bad sometimes it's hard to tell where the testicle even is. I have also started developing "spider veins" in the skin of my scrotum that look terrible. The only relief I get is lying down, but I can't lye down all day every day. As far as T levels, I haven't had it checked, but my libido is certainly lower in the past year, I can go a month without having sex and don't even have a desire to masturbate (sorry to get graphic).
I'm just ready for this crap to be over.
07-01-2012 10:33 PM
Hi 80schild. Sorry to hear about your pain.
Originally Posted by 80schild
Did anything change, i.e. did you suffer a strain or a sports injury, or any other factor that you may be aware of that possibly made the varicocele worse? Did you recently take up weight training and suddenly notice the varicocele was worse?
Are you in the USA or UK?
Be careful with the Lortab. It's an opioid and that won't help your testosterone levels.
I'm not saying that the varicoceles have not had an adverse effect on your Testosterone levels (I think they do, especially larger ones) but I do think the anxiety surrounding varicoceles and the pain could put a damper on any sexual desire, regardless of Testosterone levels.
I hope you don't mind me asking these questions. But I think it is helpful to me and others as it brings out more of the anecdotal evidence about this problem. Knowing which country you live in is also interesting as it seems that the UK and USA health professionals may take a difference approach or attitude towards varicocele.
07-01-2012 11:13 PM
I'm in the USA (in Alabama). I think what started the pain was when I went jogging while wearing boxers (a dumb mistake), that pain lasted about a week. I have always had low hanging testicles, but never thought much about it until that episode. I was able to go months without any symptoms but lately it's beginning to get much more frequent. And yeah you're right about the anxiety, it kills the libido. Standing for long periods of time is what really irritates it, especially during hot weather. Sometimes I wake in the morning dreading my day if I know Im going to be on my feet a lot.
The doctors here really vary. My first urologist visit was supposed to be about this varicocele, but once they found out I had a kidney stone that's what they put their attention to, they didn't even want to talk about the varicocele anymore. The radiologist was very helpful, and he said he believes the embolization would be a success.
I guess I'll see how it goes with the new urologist in the morning, he's supposed to be experienced with robotic assisted microsurgery.
07-02-2012 01:20 PM
I just got back from the urologist, it was pretty much a useless trip. He says he was taught only to operate if there's infertility. He said he doesn't operate for pain, because likely the pain will not improve, or even get worse. I'm not sure I agree with that because what I've read online says the opposite.
Anyways, it looks like I will be keeping my appointment for the embolization on July 13th.
07-02-2012 01:24 PM
Let us know how you get on. And I hope it goes well for you whatever you decide.
From my reading, the embol is not always successful and if not it may need to be followed up with surgery.
Are you are to get a 3rd opinion on surgery?
Cornell seems to be the gold standard if you listen to their blurb. Did you read their page? Search on Google for cornell varicocele.
07-03-2012 12:33 PM
Well the first urologist I mentioned actually replaced another one that moved out of state. So, technically I have seen three different urologists now. I have come to the conclusion that they just don't want to be bothered with varicoceles. I don't know, maybe they're worried the pain won't improve, and that they'll be held responsible. Or maybe they'd rather stick to easier stuff like lithotripsies and pushing pills.
The only doctor that listened and didn't brush me off was the iv radiologist. He actually took a sheet of paper and drew me a map of the venous system to show me exactly where he would place the coils. He said if he went up high enough that the chances of recurrence are slim. I asked him about the sclerosing agent and he said he prefers not to use that, he said it can cause a burning feeling.
Searching the Internet really gets frustrating because it's mostly about fertility. Many of the posts I have read are actually women asking for their husbands. Im not planning to have kids and don't care about sperm count, I just want the pain improved.
07-03-2012 02:23 PM
Did you have any testicular atrophy? Are your nuts small or soft at any time?
Did you get your Testosterone levels checked? What was the result?
07-03-2012 09:27 PM
Low t-levels and varicoceles, need advice!
Here for some opinions and guidance. I am 25 and I have had varicocele since my midteens, even had an embolization done when I was 16. The embolization seems to have had some effect, but didn't completely relieve the varicoceles, which are still there in a grade 2 or 1 (not exactly sure, but they are big enough to spot without ultrasound, which should make it a grade 2).
Until recently, the only way the thing bothered me was cosmetically, since it makes my testicles hand really low in the scrotum, especially when it is hot. I even considered surgery for this reason. Now, however, I am concerned about something much more serious. In hope of relieving my anxiety of it I had my T-levels checked a few months back, and it turned out they were quite low. The total amount was 15 and the bioactive amount of T was only 5.9. The references were 10-30 and 6,3-16 respectively. (Other people on this forum and other places often seem to use some other scale of measurement, not sure how it works).
I read online that low levels doesn't necessary mean you have a problem, since different bodies need different amounts of T. I can't really say I have very concrete symptoms of low T, although the symptoms described are so vague that they could basically apply to anyone if they are imaginative enough (such as "fatigue", "lack of vitality").
On the positive side, I am in really good shape and stronger than I have been in years. I have almost no body-fat and look like I am chiseled in stone basically.
On the other hand, I look really boyish for my age, and I never had much of a beard (though I managed to grow a decent goatee as an experiment). I have had minor erection problems in the past which I until now mostly attributed to anxiety. I also thought I noticed a somewhat lower than normal sex drive even before I had my T checked, which I then thought maybe had to do with my lifestyle at the time (frequent drinking, irregular sleeping hours). Recently, however, it seems as if the sex drive has been coming back a little, after I made a few changes in lifestyle. But it somehow seems as if it is really not "there" as much as it should. Or maybe it is all in my mind now.
How would I know what a normal sex drive is anyway? Presently I do masturbate daily and even twice or thrice, and enjoying at least the first and second time. Sometimes, I admit, I do it just to check if it "works" so to speak. When having sex, I was never able to have sex more than once or sometimes twice in a row before throwing in the towel for the night. And when reading online and listening to other people, it sometimes seems as if there sex drive is much stronger than mine. But does that mean that mine is not normal? It is also likely that many people are exaggerating I guess.
Of course I need to get my T-levels confirmed and my situation evaluated by a doctor. My problem is, however, that I presently live and work in a country (China) were you cannot expect any kind of help for these kinds of problems (I had my T:s checked at home when I was home last time). I was planning on going home to have this checked out this summer, but I am not well of at the moment financially, and the my boss wants me to stay until December if possible. In many ways, that would be a good time for me to go back, and I would have a lot of time then to have this situation evaluated. But I am worried that things will get worse (do I even have a problem? I don't know!), if I don't have it checked soon enough. So I am really ambivalent.
Of course, It would be really good to get this checked out as soon as possible; on the other hand, it would be better for me in other ways if I could hang around here until Christmas. What would anyone else do? Does it seem like I have a "normal" sex drive? Can anyone tell anything from my t-levels results how serious and urgent it could be?
Thankful for any advice.
07-03-2012 10:45 PM
I had a scrotal ultrasound done about two years ago, but they didn't mention any atrophy. Honestly that left side always looks big because of the varicocele.
Originally Posted by Leon Kennedy
I haven't had my testosterone checked.
07-03-2012 10:49 PM
Im 25 and have bilateral varicoceles. The right one is a grade 1 and the left is a grade 2. I went to a urologist who ordered a sperm count and a testosterone test. I will let you all know the results. I do not think i have low testosterone but I am worried because the left testicle is slightly smaller then the right. i have had the varicoceles since i was 17. I also developed prostate problems 2 years after getting the varicoceles. I am considering going to israel to get the gat goren procedure done. Any opinions on my case?
07-04-2012 05:33 AM
You sound pretty normal to me sex-drive-wise. Men do vary in their sex drive.
Originally Posted by Erran
You sound a bit like me. I can't grow very much facial hair. A decent goatee, but the rest is pretty sparse.
T of 15 is a little less than ideal but it also depends on when you had the test done. T tests should be done as close to 8am as possible with levels decreasing as the day goes on. Results can vary from one day to the next.
I've not heard that prostate problems have any link to varicoceles.
Originally Posted by alexandrov
It is natural for the testicles to vary in size without varicoceles. If the nut is substantially smaller though, it is likely that the varicocele is responsible.
07-04-2012 01:43 PM
Thanks for the reply Leon
I also previously thought that varicoceles could not cause prostate problems but there is some new research that shows otherwise. Basically with varicoceles you can potentially have an increase in pressure in the spermatic vein that will cause blood to back flow in the prostate. Since this blood comes from the testes it is rich in testosterone and can promote prostate hyperplasia. Also the mechanical effect of having a blood engorged prostate can cause the prostate to swell. However this research comes from Dr. Gat and Dr. Goren the 2 doctors that perform surgery to correct bph symptoms caused by varicoceles. The research can be found on the gat goren clinic website. I would post the url but I am unable to do so on this site.
07-04-2012 08:38 PM
Interesting. So is this Israeli treatment the microsurgical approach? Is it expensive?
Originally Posted by alexandrov
07-05-2012 04:10 PM
it is like 12,000 usd i think so ya its mucho expensive, and its an embolization so its not microsurgury
if you google gat goren technique their site is the first to some up
07-05-2012 04:19 PM
The embol is available in the UK free under the NHS. If you say you are in unacceptable pain, then you should get it.
Originally Posted by alexandrov
But I take it you are not in the UK.
07-05-2012 08:15 PM
ya im in the US, and also the israeli procedure is different because its the only one that also embolizes the neighboring prostatic veins for prostate issues as well. So thats the only reason I was considering their program. But I still need to get my test results and work through some other problems before i deceide anything.
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