Can Varicoceles Make You Infertile?

Can Varicoceles Make You Infertile?

If you're seeing enlarged veins in your scrotum, you may want to see your urologist. Enlarged scrotal veins that look similar to varicose veins are

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If you’re seeing enlarged veins in your scrotum, you may want to see your urologist. Enlarged scrotal veins that look similar to varicose veins are medically called varicoceles. Most of the time, varicoceles are painless and harmless.

However, there have been many cases wherein varicoceles caused fertility problems. Infertility among men with varicoceles has become quite common, and it has actually spurred several scientific studies. Continue reading to learn about how varicoceles may impact your reproductive health.

What are Varicoceles?

Varicoceles happen when the veins inside your scrotum become enlarged. The bulging veins may cause tenderness and swelling in your scrotum, although there are also cases wherein varicoceles do not cause any observable symptoms aside from the bulging veins. Most of the time, varicoceles affect only one testicle, usually the left one.

When varicoceles do hurt, the pain can be either dull or sharp. And it usually gets worse when you exert yourself or stand for a long time. The pain usually eases or completely goes away when you lie on your back.

Varicoceles and Male Infertility

Experts estimate that about 10%-15% of men have varicoceles. Varicoceles are also believed to contribute to as much as 40% of male infertility cases. Although doctors are still trying to fully understand the mechanism by which varicoceles impact male fertility, experts believe that there are two main reasons why men with varicoceles suffer from infertility.

pain in his genitals and balls

Inside your scrotum, you will find the pampiniform plexus which is basically composed of several small veins found in your spermatic cord. Blood travels to and from your testicles through your spermatic cord.

Malfunctioning valves in your pampiniform plexus or in your spermatic cord can cause blood to back up in your vein, which then makes your vein bulge and become swollen. This can then cause a decrease in your testicular blood supply, as well as increase your testicular temperature.

When your testicular cells are not receiving ample blood supply, it can affect their function, including the production of your sperm. Either your sperm count will decrease, or the quality of your sperm will go down.

In addition, when your scrotal temperature increases above the normal range, it can also affect the count and quality of your spermatozoa. The optimum scrotal temperature for sperm production is actually pegged at two degrees below your body temperature, but if your scrotal temperature rises above that, sperm production could completely stop.

Natural Male Fertility Enhancers

If you’re concerned about fertility issues, whether it’s due to varicoceles or other causes, there are several natural enhancers for male fertility. One of the things that you would want to do is to improve your production of sperm, and then you can work on improving your sperm quality.

Tongkat Ali, Ashwagandha, Tribulus terrestris, and zinc can help you do that. For one, all these four are considered beneficial in increasing testosterone levels. And you need to ensure that your testosterone levels are in the normal range if you want to be able to produce high-quality sperm.

That’s because as your germ cells grow and develop into mature sperm in your testicles, testosterone is needed to nourish them. If your testicular cells are not producing enough testosterone, that means that your growing sperm cells are not getting enough nourishment so many of them will die or develop abnormalities.

The testosterone-boosting properties of Tongkat Ali, Ashwagandha, and Tribulus terrestris help explain why these herbs are effective in improving sperm production and raising sperm concentrations, as well as increasing semen volume. As you produce more testosterone, your spermatozoa receive sufficient nourishment so they can grow healthy.

Zinc has also been shown to help boost testosterone levels, especially in men with hypogonadism or extremely low levels of testosterone. The mineral is necessary for the body’s internal production of testosterone, which is why men who are zinc deficient often suffer from impaired androgen production.

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In addition, zinc, Tongkat Ali, Ashwagandha, and Tribulus terrestris all help increase the antioxidant protection for your sperm. Zinc is actually a very important mineral for your sperm health. That’s because it’s needed for the normal development of several parts of sperm cells like the tail or the acrosome, and zinc also acts as an antioxidant in your seminal fluid.

Your spermatozoa are actually very sensitive to all sorts of oxidative stress damage. Recent studies have shown that oxidative stress is one of the most prevalent reasons for male infertility. High levels of oxidative stress typically result in abnormal sperm morphology and poor sperm motility.

When your sperm cell has an abnormal structure such as if the tail is crooked or not attached properly, its motility will definitely suffer. Thus, high percentages of abnormally shaped sperm usually go together with poor sperm motility.

Oxidative stress can also cause damage to the DNA material of your spermatozoa, as well as impaired cellular function. When a sperm cell has damaged DNA material, its fertilization capacity is decreased. And if it does get to fertilize the egg cell, the risks of fetal development abnormalities are high.

What zinc, Tongkat Ali, Tribulus terrestris, and Ashwagandha do is that they increase your antioxidant capacity and provide your sperm more protection against oxidative stress. Tongkat Ali, for instance, is rich in various antioxidants like eurycomanone. Tribulus terrestris is also rich in antioxidants like steroidal saponins.

Ashwagandha is acknowledged as an excellent rejuvenating herb due to its rich antioxidant content. The antioxidants found in this healthful herb include steroidal lactones and saponins, as well as polyphenols and alkaloids. The rich variety of antioxidants contained in Ashwagandha also help explain why this popular herb has so many health benefits.

Other herbs that are also rich in antioxidants and known to have pro-fertility effects include maca, Horny Goat Weed, and fenugreek. Maca, in particular, has been shown to help increase sperm count and improve sperm motility, as well as reduce the percentage of sperm with abnormal morphology.

Horny Goat Weed is also known to increase semen volume, sperm count, and sperm concentration. The herb’s most well-known antioxidant, icariin, is also popular for its PDE5 inhibitory effects, which make Horny Goat Weed really beneficial for men with erectile dysfunction.

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