(Article medically reviewed by Dr. Zac Hyde M.D)
Does a varicocele lower testosterone?
Yes, in many cases it does.
Men who have a Varicocele often have lower testosterone levels and reduced fertility, on average, when compared to men without the condition.
That’s the bad news.
Now, if you’ve tried the natural remedies we discuss below without success, here’s some good news for you…
Varicocele surgery is outpatient. You’ll literally leave the doctors office a few hours after you walk in.
And if you have the surgery on Friday, you’ll probably be back to work on Monday.
In other words, varicocele surgery is not excessively invasive, has a high success rate and recovery is rapid.
And even better, the vast majority of men with low-t who have the surgery see testosterone levels climb quickly once they’ve recovered.
But there is one caveat to the info above…
If you have a varicocele, but your testosterone levels are not suppressed, you’re much less likely to see an increase after the surgery.
So my suggestion is always to have the surgery if the varicocele is suppressing testicular testosterone production.
If it’s not suppressing Test, hold off and try some of the natural methods discussed below unless you’re dealing with testicular pain that is lowering your quality of life.
Now here’s David with Part 2:
Does a Varicocele Lower Testosterone Part 2:
Check this or any of my other sites, and you’ll find literally thousands of in-depth conversations detailing how to boost your testosterone levels and improve testicular function.
And while there are countless ways to accomplish this (and countless reasons to do so), it’s important to remember there are barriers to this process.
In this article, we’ll talk about a very big example: varicoceles.
What is a Varicocele?
A varicocele is an enlargement of the vein in your scrotum, not unlike a varicose vein that you might see in the legs of your least favorite auntie.
Keep in mind that the veins attached to your testes are normally very thin.
But when a person suffers from varicoceles, these veins become enlarged due to a back flow of blood caused by defective valves inside the veins.
This might seem merely gross at first but if you think about your basic scrotal anatomy and function, it’s not hard to see how varicoceles can cause a lot of problems.
- Varicoceles are one of the most common causes of reduced sperm count and decreased sperm quality.
- In many cases, a patient’s testosterone levels will reduce significantly due to the varicocele impeding normal testicular function. In rare cases, this can lead to severely low testosterone, which carries complications ranging from osteoporosis to metabolic syndrome.
- Over time, Varicoceles can cause the testicles to shrink and begin to atrophy.
- Because the backup of blood in the Varicoceles can cause the overall temperature of the testes to rise, they can affect sperm formation and motility to the point of causing infertility.
- To support themselves, the tiny veins of the testicles wrap around the vas deferens, which is the long muscular tube that transports mature sperm to the urethra. When they become engorged due to varicoceles, these veins can compress the vas deferens and reduce its ability to function.
- Varicoceles can cause a disruption of the skin near the base of your penis. To give you an idea of what this might look like to your partner, most doctors refer to it as a “bag of worms.”
Varicocele in Younger Men
If you were waiting for me to tell you that varicoceles is some rare condition that only affects men over 70, I have some bad news for you.
Not only are 20% of men likely to develop this condition at some point in their lifetime, but varicoceles are very likely to strike from the onset of puberty until the mid-to-late 20s.
Why is this important? Because that’s the time of your life where you most need that precious testosterone pumping through your veins!
Plus, you need to remember all the different ways that varicoceles can affect you.
We’re not just talking about reduced testosterone levels at a time when your body desperately needs it, but lowered sperm quality and potential testicular atrophy as well.
That’s right: testicular atrophy in your 20s!
So before you all start writing this off as just another men’s health scare tactic, try to remember that – according to science – 1 in 5 of you are already suffering from this condition.
As if varicoceles weren’t scary enough, there is a whole laundry list of things that may or may not lead to their development.
Examples include injuries to the groin, hernias, sitting too much, and poor vascular function.
However, in some cases, the doctors just have to throw up their hands and say, “we have no idea where it came from, but you got it.”
Not exactly an ideal scenario.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of developing this condition.
Moreover, there are signs you can keep an eye out for to help you catch it before it turns your sack into nothing more than a decoration.
We’ll outline all of this below.
- Poor diet, obesity
- Testicular injury or injury to the groin
- Inactivity or too much time spent sitting
- Bacteria infections
- Sudden bursts of strenuous exercises
- Poor vascular genetics (if you have vein problems elsewhere, your varicoceles risk is enhanced.
Signs and Symptoms of Varicocele:
- Visible, enlarged veins in the scrotum (bag of worms at base of the penis)
- Dull aching pain in the scrotum
- Testicular shrinkage
- One testicle (usually the left) hanging lower than the other
- A sickening or unpleasant feeling related to “heaviness” in the testes
- Significant one-sidedness of the testicles
- Reduced sperm quality and volume
- Low T with no other explanation
Keep in mind that any, all, or none of these symptoms may be present in a man suffering from varicoceles.
Again, that’s the truly scary part! You could be going about your life perfectly normally (and healthily), completely unaware that your testosterone levels are being zapped right at the source!
Varicocele Prevention and Treatment
I hate to continue being the bearer of bad news, but – as of right now – the most frequent treatment for varicoceles is corrective surgery (clinically known as a varicocelectomy).
While the risk of such a procedure is quite low and the success rates relatively high, it’s no secret that most men would prefer an option that didn’t include slicing their balls open (and I can’t say I blame you).
Below, we’ll outline some of the non-surgical preventions and treatments that are currently gaining traction:
Horse Chestnut Extract & Horse Chestnut Seed
There has been some significant buzz around a supplement known (ironically) as horse chestnut extract.
Over the past few years, this little herb has been the subject of multiple studies, many of which have found it quite effective at preventing and repairing all but the most advanced cases of varicoceles.
Apparently, Horse Chestnut Seed contains a chemical compound known as escin, which has been shown in several studies to treat chronic venous insufficiency.
Indeed, it can not only provide internal relief for all types of varicose veins, but it can also improve the function of the valves that most experts claim cause the problem in the first place.
The most promising study was performed in conjunction with the University of Missouri.
It found that Escin was capable of significantly improving the sperm quality and quantity in men who were suffering from varicocele-related infertility.
This seems to suggest that there may be non-surgical hope on the horizon for men who have seen the disease progress to all but its most dangerous form.
High Antioxidant Dietary Changes
Let’s be honest: a crappy diet can have far-flung effects on your overall health – sexual health included.
Unfortunately, one of the first systems to suffer from your fast food addiction is the vascular system.
Luckily, if you want to reduce the daily oxidative damage and blood vessel inflammation caused by those daily microwavable meals, you can simply add more antioxidant-rich foods to your diet.
We’re talking about broccoli, spinach, carrots, radishes, and kale – all those things that six-year-old you wouldn’t be caught dead eating.
But don’t worry, you can “leaf” the vegetable aisle once in a while for fruits like goji berries, blueberries, and blackberries, which are also high in antioxidants.
If you’re feeling particularly enterprising, you can mix all of the above together into one big anti-varicocele smoothie.
Sit Less to Prevent Varicocele
Sitting is a modern invention. After all, back in the early days, long periods of rest were a surefire way to get a spear or moa beak in the back of your Homo Erectus head.
So if you want to prevent a wide variety of diseases and disorders, stop spending those countless hours sitting at the computer or on the couch.
I know, I know – lots of us have no choice due to those other pesky modern inventions: jobs.
However, you can invest in a stand-up desk, a more supportive modern chair that keeps pressure off your sensitive parts, or simply take a few minutes break every time the hour hand strikes.
Trust me: this is the simplest way to keep varicoceles from making an appearance.
Supplements to Treat Varicocele Naturally
Horse Chestnut is just one of the supplements proven useful in preventing and treating varicoceles.
There are a few other compounds you might want to consider in order to stave off a surgical solution.
- Garlic and Vitamin C – Both of these all-natural ingredients are well known to increase circulation and reduce blood pressure. How? By pumping up the body’s nitric oxide production (sometimes by as much as 200%). If you don’t know, NO is one of your main boner ingredients, relaxing the arteries and keeping blood flow to and from your main vein.
- Gingko Biloba – Ginko is an all-purpose herb that has been used to treat varicose veins for decades. It works by improving microcirculation – the blood flow of your tiniest veins. This is great news, as those blood vessels affected by varicoceles are often some of the smallest in your groin.
- Biorutin – Biorutin is an antioxidant flavonoid that is used to treat varicose veins. It can be found naturally in foods like buckwheat, but it is much more commonly consumed as an extract or pill supplement.
Does a Varicocele Lower Testosterone Conclusion:
The main thing I want you to take away from this article is that varicoceles are not only bad, but they are extremely common.
Remember, 1 in 5 men will develop this condition at some point in their lives. To make matters worse? Many of them won’t know it!
So, please, take the advice I’ve presented here to heart. Improve that diet, stop sitting so much, and – by all means – keep an eye out for the symptoms listed above.
Especially symptoms related to low testosterone.
There is hope, sure, but the best way to cure varicoceles is to never let them develop in the first place.