Varicoceles - New Research & Findings
- 10-11-2007, 07:07 PM
Varicoceles - New Research & Findings
I am busy trying to get myself fixed up and also doing a whole host of research into varicoceles and testicular abnormalities. I intend to setup a website soon (and forum). I also intend to release an ebook by the end of the year.
I have discovered a few interesting things this far on my journey to understand the detrimental effects of varicocele.
Here is a list of my findings so far.
- Varicocele directly effects adrenal cortex steriodgenesis, thus effecting sperm production on the effected side and also bi-laterally.
- It's common for varicocele sufferers to have elevated levels of cortisol and progesterone. High progesterone is similar to what happens to people on "Deca". Symptoms of high progesterone are possible.
- Either due to direct tissue changes, leydig cell dysfunction occurs due to down regulation of thyroid hormone. The testicles also output TRH hormone which is effected with varicocele. It's common for varicocele suffers to have elevated TSH and low thyroid hormone output.
- Varicocele causes renal hypertension on the effected side (high blood preasure) that in turn causes an increased production of progesterone to compensate.
- Due to progesterone alterations, estridol (and total estrogens) are effected. This can negatively effect sperm production.
- It's normal for SHBG changes to occur due to hypothyroidism. It's common to find lowered SHBG in varicocele sufferers.
- Low testoserone (total and free) are common.
- Varicocele is also known to cause hyperprolactima (elevated prolactin levels that can contribute to ED, low libido, etc).
- If low thyroid hormone is present a blunted response to HCG will be noted. Thyroid hormone is important for testicular cell receptors and spermgenesis.
- Scrotal, penile and prostate muscles can be weakened due to low hormone activity.
- Reduced penile sensation can occur due to hormonal alterations such as lowered thyroid hormone, progesterone effecting estridol balance, etc.
- Increased cortisol in the left prepherial vein (alongside increased progesterone and adrenal steroid hormones) down regulate testicular function (testosterone production, etc). Cortisol is an antagonist to testosterone.
- Anti-Inflammatory medications will lower testosterone further and effect adrenal output.
Naturally i would like to hear from people who are also experiencing varicocele related hormone problems, testicular pain, etc.
- 10-11-2007, 07:30 PM
They are able to function (including sexually) on supplemtation alone.
At certain point, when varicocele problems is overwhelming, I think life with out testicles should be an option.
I am not talking of removal of testicles, I think of not using HCG while supplementing with Testosterone.
For about three years I was on Androgel alone.
My testicles were non-existing.
With testosterone suplementation testicles are just cosmetic appendage.
There is many aspects to good health.
Testicles are just one (small) part of it.
All this is just one perspective.
In ideal world we want everything.
Wish you luck.
- 10-11-2007, 07:40 PM
Very valid points JanSz. Very true also.
I am considering doing 250mg a week of test e split into two dosages (125mg on monday, 125mg on thursday). What do you think about this? This would only be advisable once thyroid hormone fundimentally raised SHBG to support higher estridol levels first. Cortisol replacement would also be important.
My thoughts right now are dealing with hyperprogesteronemia and hyperprolactima, my only thoughts on this are increasing DHT using higher dosages of testosterone (250mg) to counter act the effects of progesterone. The main problem being that this could be dangerous in lowering it too much. Blood work would be required to monitor this.
The main question right now is would having the varicocele effected testicle removed help or hinder this situation? I am pretty sure the pain would be reduced for sure, but the main problem lies in the faulty veins rather than the testicle itself. Would this reverse or aid the hypertension situation that possibly has occured or could occur in the future.
Removing testicle (or both) should technically offer the following:
- Reduced cortisol production
- Reduced pain/inflammation
- Resolution of adrenal back flow/reflux occuring
- Less adrenal stress (?)
All of the above are questionable though. I think T supplimentation would help with much of the problem though, however adrenal support and thyroid support are also required. HCG would be a nice option to see how thing's react. Having higher external testosterone would be beneficial in allowing me to use pain medications (non steroid based anti-inflammatory) to control pain.
10-11-2007, 07:52 PM
I already answered the 250mg/week question on another post.
You do not need that much testosterone.
I already suggested, in other posts, that in my opinion you should not use hcg.
You should let your testicles shrivel.
All that is due to the varicocele that is bothering you too much and preventing you from addressing the rest of your health.
Remember, in extreme case you can have that testicle removed, varicocele and all.
But that is extreme, do not even consider it at this time.
10-11-2007, 08:47 PM
I have a moderate left varicocele in a testicle that has been atrophic for as long as I remember. Right testicle is normal.
My cortisol is a little high, T is low. However, other values do not match: SHGB is middle of range, blood pressure is low, TSH low end of normal. From your list it seems like maybe my condition is not caused by the varicocele. I'd like to learn some more...
10-11-2007, 08:49 PM
If possible, can everyone post all the blood work they have. This will be useful for further research.
Also please mention if you experience pain, aching or discomfort from varicoceles as this will trigger various hormonal and stress responses too.
10-11-2007, 09:26 PM
10-12-2007, 12:20 PM
I also have a left varicocoele (and a left hydrocoele), the ultrasound tech said the varicocoele was very small.
I still think I should get it removed.
What determines whether a varicocoele should be removed?
10-12-2007, 02:02 PM
10-12-2007, 03:03 PM
But last night it was really bugging me, and sometimes during sex it is distractingly painful.
10-12-2007, 03:17 PM
10-12-2007, 04:06 PM
"An alternative to surgery is embolisation, a non-invasive treatment for varicocele that is performed by an interventional radiologist. This involves passing a small wire through a peripheral vein and into the abdominal veins that drain the testes. Through a small flexible catheter, this doctor can obstruct the veins so that the increased pressures from the abdomen are no longer transmitted to the testicles. The testicles then drain through a bunch of smaller, collateral veins. The recovery period is significantly less than with surgery and the risk of complications is minimised. However, overall effectiveness is not as high as surgery, which is still an option."
10-12-2007, 04:37 PM
10-12-2007, 10:15 PM
10-12-2007, 10:53 PM
My left testicle is very atrophied. Has been smaller than the right one for several years.
JanSz: I already wear snug briefs. I'd rather deal with the problem. As I mentioned, I've had a vasectomy, so pregnancy is not an issue. I want the venous issue to be fixed, blood pressure down there back to normal, and the testis hopefully will grow back to normal (on hcg).
MarkLA: Thanks for the info about embolization. I will ask the urologist about that.
10-13-2007, 09:56 AM
Generally once testicular atrophy occurs from varicocele, it's not reversible. Some people say it is, but that's people that have had VERY minor atrophy. Varicocele causes cell mediated death, they can also cause tissue damage if left long enough due to the toxins. I will go into this in more detail if anyone want's after i sleep for a while this afternoon.
I had embolization done myself, it helped with the swollen vein but nothing much else. I was still left with a small "sub-clinical varicocele" that was about 2/3mm, but not noticable from the outside. The pain was reduced a good bit, but i still get a 10/20% ache every day now and again. Sometimes shooting pains too. You never truelly get rid of varicoceles, it's false for anyone to assume you can.
Hyde (from this board) had the open surgery approuch (going in through the groin - not the embolization) and still has the same problems as me. They left one vein with him, like they did with me. I believe this happens to almost everyone that get's it done.
I persoanlly don't believe varicocele is a treatable condition. Redirecting blood flow only put's more preasure on the other veins in the area, which negativelly effect the testicle either way. This in the long run lead's to other varicoceles forming later in life.
I got an ultrasound done that reported "normal blood flow" but still i have the feeling of heaviness most day's. My testicles also seem to fluctate in size.
I can't say for certain but i "might" have noticed a very slight testicular size increase on the left side. I haven't tried HCG yet, but "might" consider it if i go on TRT. If your LH/FSH are in the normal range (i.e. not double figures) then there is a good chance you will respond to it. Your thyroid hormones need to be VERY optiminal though, as does DHT and adrenal hormones.
Wildfox, what are you suffering from hormone wise? Hypogonadism (primary i assume, like me?), hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, high progesterone, hyperprolactima, etc?
Do you have low libido/ED issues? Do you ever suffer from penile shrinkage or problems getting hard/keeping it hard?
10-14-2007, 12:10 AM
The constant "dragging" sensation and the feeling of "worms" in my scrotum ,ie the varicocele, drove me to have the operation.
The fear of atrophy is almost nonexistent since they no longer open up the scrotum to take care of the vein. They told me they stopped doing that in the late 1960's because of this risk.
I have a small scar on my lower abdomen. All they did was cut the vein and tie it off. My body absorbed it over time and other veins had already taken over for the varicocele anyways. No atrophy . . just complete relief to this day.
I would say have the operation. There's no reason to continue to suffer with this very treatable condition.
11-16-2007, 04:56 PM
Hello all. My name is Jason and I have recently (2 Months Ago) been diagnosed with a Variocele.
Over the past year I have noticed a decrease in my libido, but really did not pay attention to it as the sex I was having was GREAT. (It was normal for my partner and I to have sex 2 and sometimes 3 times a week) I had noticed something different in my scrotum, but ignored it. I would on occasion take 1/4 of a 50MG Viagra, more for the recreational function than the need for it. Then about 4 or 5 months ago I had an ED episode, using the 1/4 Viagra. This episode blossomed into the classic cycle of worry that it won't work the next time. Over the course of about a month or more I tried whole pills of Viagra, and sometimes they would work and sometimes they would not. I started getting depressed and having those kinds of phatom symptoms that Doctors like to call nothing. My Primary Care Doctor prescribed Wellbutrin and referred me to a physical medicine doctor and a urologist. After about two weeks on the Wellbutrin I started to feel better and could somewhat see the clouds of my depression clearing. I finally was squeezed in to the urologist. He was not very helpful in the consultation and ordered a ultrasound, a week later. I told him my balls felt hot somtimes and ached. He said it was most likely a hydrocele. (I was not happy because at this point I was thinking it might be TC and he made me wait a week to have an ultrasound.) Another week went by, and another Week on the Wellbutrin. My head felt better than it had in the past three months, but i was still weak, balls ache, after sex was not a good thing, and really no sex drive to speak of. He did the ultrasound and ordered a T test.
The ultrasound came back with my nuts having a volume of 11.X and 10.X, and he diagnosed me with the Variocele.
The T test came back Total=3.06 (1.68-7.46) - Free=12.4
His answer was to wear jockstrap and come back in three months.
Well I read Megazoid's posts and did not settle. I found another urologist.
I direct with the new doctor and let him know that I felt that the variocele was the reason for my depression, fatigue, and ED issues. He to said no, it's most likely your depression. I have never had a depressive episode in my life. Either way he said that it was an acute variocele and had me do a MRI and CAT scan to rule out anything with my internals. All Clear there. He has referred me to a interventional radiologist to perform an embolization, and I have another consult with another Doctor that does the microscopic surgery. He also ordered a T test with LH and Prolactin.
Total=3.35 (1.68-7.46) Free=10.7 (8.7-25.1) LH=4.3 (1.2-8.6) Prolactin=10.5 (2.6-13.1)
My free dropped 2 points over a month.
I know that I am not as bad off as some of you guys and for that I am very grateful, but as we all know here, the test today does not tell us what we were. I know that I had more energy and sexual drive 6 months ago.
Another thing of note is that my orgasms are what I can only describe as latent. I mean I feel it coming but it takes a minute to actually climax. Has anyone ever heard of that ?
Also if I think back over the past year, the sex and orgasms were what I would call VERY intense. Not to say when I do have sex now it isn't, but there was some gusto prior that is not here now.
I am going to have the Variocele fixed, and hope that i return to normal and can get off the Wellbutrin.
Right now the one thing that has saved my relationship is the fact that Cialis works so well.
Sorry for such a long post but thought you would like to hear another story.
11-29-2007, 10:45 AM
Does anyone have any insight on the use of anabolics (In my case PHs) when someone has varicocele? Would this be a problem… especially with the issue of possible testicular atrophy? Would the fellows get back to size??? Thanks.
11-29-2007, 11:06 AM
11-29-2007, 11:22 AM
11-29-2007, 11:52 AM
11-29-2007, 12:19 PM
11-29-2007, 12:45 PM
11-29-2007, 08:00 PM
11-29-2007, 09:20 PM
11-29-2007, 09:54 PM
11-29-2007, 11:55 PM
Wow never noticed this thread before but I guess I'll join in cause I have a varicocele on the left side..
I probably won't have mine fixed because I can't bring myself to surgery unless its essential.. I had a sperm count done a year or so ago and it was right where it should be..
Ill probably have one done again sometime soon..
But no pain/lots of sperm/no hanging feeling/only slightly smaller than my right nut is good enough to keep me away from the knife..
11-30-2007, 09:22 AM
11-30-2007, 01:02 PM
Hey well the only ph Ive really ever done was h-drol.. and in all honesty they stayed the same size as they had been already all the way through (and through pct)..
Now that I think about it, either I got real lucky and didn't experience shrinkage, or they both got smaller to such a small degree that I couldn't even notice it..
But with respect to test, my doc said that varicoceles are apparently due to faulty valves that drain blood which is why its already a little smaller on the left.. I'm not sure how strongly low test production actually correlates with varicoceles like low sperm production can.. I mean the high temps can directly hamper sperm production, but test production?
Anyways haha they both remained the same size in respect to one another and if they shrank at all it wasn't even enough for me to tell.. I just now considered the possibility that they could have at all! and they're presently the fullest I've ever noticed them to be
11-30-2007, 01:54 PM
11-30-2007, 03:31 PM
11-30-2007, 06:01 PM
11-30-2007, 07:08 PM
This is a very interesting thread. I am 33, left varicocele, with low T, high cortisol, hypothyroid. Currently using compounded TRT.
Doctors say the varicocele does not affect hormones, but I don't believe them. Do you have any references for your findings?? I think it would help a lot of guys to bring to their Dr's.
11-30-2007, 09:21 PM
Thanks for all the replies, nice to see this thread is still active.
I am going to be setting up a testicular and urological website and forum for men very soon. I will also build a collection of refrences and findings for varicoceles to help people present to there doctors, bear with me on this one.
There are definitelly links between hypothyroidism and varicocele. High cortisol is also strongly linked with over active adrenal cortex (due to the constant inflammation i expect).
de49152, can you please give me your full story. Did you experience shrinkage/atrophy, ED problems, penile shrinkage, low libido, hypothyroidism symptoms, dry skin, etc? Do you experience pain and discomfort with the varicocele?
Guy's, if possible give as much information as you can so we can all move forward.
11-30-2007, 11:23 PM
Within the last year, the varicocele started feeling uncomfortable. There was a constant heavy feeling, as well as pain during sex. The left testicle seemed smaller, but very rough due to vein dilation. Eventually my libido dropped, experienced ED, and also anxiety/insomnia. This caused me to visit the doc again, this time for blood tests.
My testosterone was in the low 400's which is low for a man in his early thirties. DHEA was also low, in the mid 200's. TSH was 2.1 which is borderline high (iodine deficient). Cortisol is high all day and night which explains the anxiety/insomnia (insomnia is the most miserable thing).
A couple of months ago I started taking compounded testosterone, DHEA, iodine, and seriphos (cortisol reducer). Things are improving, but not as fast as I hoped. I will be going back to talk about surgical options. I just hope its not too late for "lefty" to recover and start making T again.
I am planning to try USPLabs PowerFULL to help with sleep and to keep some natural T going... anyone else try it for varicocele related problems?
12-01-2007, 08:20 AM
12-01-2007, 08:57 AM
de49152--becareful, I took PowerFull for about 30-days and it made my varicocele worse. Off, and its better again.
12-01-2007, 02:55 PM
12-06-2007, 07:59 PM
I am very interested in your sources for hormonal imbalances caused by a varicocele. I'll be seeing a urologist soon for a possible surgical fix, and I'd love to bring some proof of the hormonal effects. Anything would be appreciated, please PM.
Also, do you think it can also cause anxiety/insomnia, because I never had it before the nut started hurting.
Thanks a bunch,
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