There are quite a few treatment options available for the treatment of varicocele that will improve fertility. Learn about the best diet plan for you to avail.
It can be scary when you are unaware of what exactly is going around with you and things just don’t seem right. You may be feeling pain or facing infertility issues with your spouse. Seeking help from a healthcare professional as soon as possible is best. Fortunately, there are some non-invasive alternatives to surgical procedures such as diet-based treatments that you could follow while practicing a healthy lifestyle to get you right back on track.
Varicocele: Simplifying the understanding
If you’re already familiar with varicose veins, varicocele is only different in terms of specificity of location. While varicose vein is a condition wherein superficial veins, at any location throughout the body (but usually in the legs), may get enlarged, if these enlarged veins exist around the scrotum, they are known as varicocele. To delineate, varicocele is a clinical condition as a result of abnormal and torturous dilatation of scrotal veins in the pampiniform plexus of the spermatic cord. It can be graded according to the clinical findings on palpitations, ranging from grade 0 – 3 through different diagnostic techniques such as physical examination, scrotal ultrasound, venography, and color doppler ultrasonography. Where grade 3 varicocele is easily identified through physical examination, but lower grade varicocele could be difficult to identify, particularly in certain clinical comorbidities. As scary as it sounds, it can be treated by seeking medical help from your primary health physician at the earliest, which is when you experience any type of discomfort or pain in your groin region. Men who suffer from this condition experience symptoms such as mild to intense pain leading to infertility, and shrinking testicles.
Side-Effects of Varicocele
Deemed as the most common yet correctable cause of male infertility till date, a number of scientific investigations over the century have associated varicocele with pernicious effects on spermatogenesis, semen quality, testicular volume, reproductive hormones, and failure or difficulty in achieving pregnancy. Along with these negative consequences, it may also cause great mental distress to the affected person.
How Varicocele Causes Infertility
Spermatogenesis itself is a temperature sensitive process. In such patients, regurgitation of warm abdominal blood through incompetent valves elevates the scrotal temperature. Considering sperm functions such as motility and capacitation are all energy dependent processes, therefore, spermatozoa have very high-energy requirements. Factors that affect spermatogenesis and semen quality act by decreasing the availability of energy by mitochondrial dysfunction. Spermatozoa are especially vulnerable to reactive oxygen species (ROS) whose elevated levels result in heat and oxidation resulting in membrane instability and damage along with functional alterations such as increased DNA fragmentation that ultimately result in cellular death.
Treatment Options for Varicocele
Listed below are some of the available treatment options for patients suffering from varicocele:
Surgical Procedures for Varicocele
At present, there are three types of surgical approaches in practice, to alleviate this condition namely, laparoscopic surgery, open surgery, and microsurgery. All of these options involve hospitalization, incisions, extended recovery time, scarring and potential for recurrence.
However, there are also natural and diet-based alternative treatments in the market that varicocele patients can take advantage of.
Foods that are high in fiber and antioxidants are exceptionally good for treating varicocele. Diet that is high in antioxidants protects the veins in the testicles from the damaging effects of ROS. Also, fiber is another food component that can help alleviate these conditions since it relieves constipation that may also cause varicocele.
In order to get the best treatment out of these, try to eat antioxidant and fiber-rich food in abundance on a daily basis. Some foods that are rich in these nutrients include collard greens, beans, oats, pecans, cauliflower, and chocolate. You should start noticing improvement in fertility and decreased testicular pain with their regular use.
Supplements might be good for you since our daily diet lacks all the necessary nutrients, therefore, taking supplements allow us to consume the nutrients that we are missing out on. Such as consuming vitamins, bioflavonoids, and zinc tablets.
However, before taking any supplements, it is wise to take your doctor on board since these can aggravate a pre-existing condition, as well.
Patients suffering from varicocele should try boxer briefs also known as varicocele underwear. These provide more scrotal support than the regular underwear, which is important in allowing normal blood flow to the testicles. Also, make sure you are wearing the right fit to allow right blood flow and reduce heat generation that can be caused by wearing smaller sized boxers. You may experience reduced pain after its regular use.
Exercise and Meditation
Going to the gym and swimming a few laps would do you good if you’re experiencing varicocele. Especially swimming, since it keeps your body cool and allows proper blood circulation, etc. You can also use an ice pack, but don’t ever put it on your bare skin for more than 10 minutes at a time. Also, avoid smoking, since tobacco contains chemicals that might alleviate your varicocele through accumulation.
As science and technology are advancing, one can avail better and non-invasive options. So far, the best treatment for varicocele available is the non-surgical, minimally invasive, endovascular treatment. Varicocele treatment in Pakistan was introduced by Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, who is an endovascu