A varicocele occurs when blood backs up in the main veins that drain the scrotum. The scrotum is the pouch that contains the testes in males. The condition is usually painless. It is important that your child see a doctor if he develops swelling in the scrotum.
This condition occurs when the valve in the main vein of the scrotum does not work properly. This causes blood to back up.
If your child experiences any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to a varicocele. These symptoms may be caused by other, sometimes serious, health conditions. If your child experiences any one of them, see the doctor:
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history and do a physical exam. Tests may include the following:
Treatment is not required in all cases. However, treatment may include:
Follow the doctor's instructions if your child is diagnosed with this condition.
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
American Urological Association
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
DynaMed Editors. Varicocele. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 2009. Accessed July 27, 2009.
Mayo Clinic. Varicocele. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/Varicocele/DS00618 . Updated July 8, 2010. Accessed November 11, 2010.
Tekgul S, Riedmiller H, Gerharz E, et al. Varicocele in children and adolescents. Guidelines on paediatric urology. European Association of Urology . 2009;23-25.
Wein A, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology . 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, Elsevier; 2007.
Last reviewed June 2012 by Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 6/6/2012