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Hydrocele and Varicocele

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 28 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Fertily Expert Fertility Expert

What is a Hydrocele?

A Hydrocele is a build-up of liquid within the mucous membrane of the scrotum and is something that – for most men – will not cause any problems. For some however the problem becomes such that the liquid will have to be drained away by their GP in order to alleviate the liquid’s build up and also the pain that can accompany it.

In children the condition occurs when the testes move down from the abdomen to the scrotum and the path through which they descend does not close up properly. In men however the cause of the condition seems to be as yet unknown but the effects of it are well documented and can be severe if not treated correctly. These effects include possible infertility.

One of the most common ways for your GP to identify if you are suffering from this condition is to use a bright light and to shine it underneath the scrotum; this will show whether or not the sac surrounding the testis is fill of fluid.In more extreme cases an ultrasound scan may be required and this too will highlight a build up of fluid.

What is a Varicocele?

Varicocele is the swelling around the top of the scrotum, which is caused by the veins in and around the scrotum getting larger. It is most common on the left side of the scrotum and – as with Hydrocele – there is no known explanation for why the condition occurs. All that can be said is that the condition in itself is a generally minor one but left untreated it can lead on to more serious complications.

The most common symptom of this condition is heaviness in the scrotal area as well as tenderness and sometimes acute pain. Normally a strong course of antibiotics can help reduce the swelling – which many believe is caused by the work of internal bacteria the likes of which can cause Thrush or Candida.

Again it is worth mentioning that both of these conditions – although mostly diagnosed in post pubescent males – can affect men in their twenties, thirties and forties. As with most medical conditions there are treatments available, which will help alleviate and finally get rid of the problem.

But it is worth remembering that with problems relating to the testicles and prostrate areas of the male anatomy these problems should not go left unchecked. It is advised that men check themselves for lumps or abnormalities in their scrotal area in the same way as women might check for lumps or abnormalities in their breasts and if found – anything regardless of how small or insignificant it may seem – should be checked out immediately by your GP.

These problems – as already mentioned – begin as nothing serious but can become more serious is left unchecked and untreated and the end result of which is sometimes male infertility.

If in any doubt consult your GP and make sure to ask as many questions as you can during your consultation. Your GP will want a detailed family history where possible to help build up a picture of any previous infertility problems within your family and will also use this information to try and establish if there is a specific cause – such as an allergy – which may have led to the onslaught of the condition.

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