Most people with varicocele are looking for a natural treatment for varicocele due to the risk and cost associated with conventional treatment such as surgery and embolization. We discuss here the conventional and natural treatment for varicocele in detail.
A varicocele is the swelling of the veins due to blood pooling. The testicles are connected by arteries and veins that are responsible for blood circulation to the testicles. The veins have valves inside them that make sure the blood moves in one direction, from testicles to the heart. However, sometimes these valves malfunction, and blood pooling starts in the veins that result in swelling.
How do I know if I have a varicocele?
A varicocele feels like a bag of worms. If you have pain, swelling, or a lump over your testicles, then you probably have a varicocele. However, these symptoms can be due to other reasons too, such as due to spermatocele, hydrocele, or testicular cancer. Therefore it is highly recommended to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
To self-examine, you can gently roll your fingers over the testicles to check for any lump.
Surgical treatment (varicocelectomy) or embolization (blocking affected vein) are the main treatment options that are recommended by a doctor. But both of these have side effects related to them such as:
- Hydrocele: fluid build-up in the scrotum
- Recurrence of varicocele
- Infection: The open surgery treatment leaves behind the wound from the stitching that sometimes can get infected.
- Arterial injury: The spermatic cord that holds the testicles contains both veins and artery. The surgery can sometimes result in arterial damage. Artery brings blood to the testicle and damage to the artery can result in testicle damage too.
The unwanted consequences due to surgery or embolization have made people choose natural treatment for varicocele over the conventional treatment.
There are several things that you can change or adapt in your life to make improvements and treat varicocele:
You should start by eating food that improves venous health (related to veins) that includes food high in antioxidants and have anti-inflammatory nature.
Anti-inflammatory food: turmeric, spinach, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, blueberry, strawberry, tomatoes, onion, whole grains (wheat, oats, brown rice), green tea, flaxseed, chia seed, aloe, etc.
You should also avoid inflammatory food because anti-inflammatory food will not show any positive results if you are still consuming inflammatory food.
Inflammatory food: Avoid high-fat dairy products (condensed milk, high-fat butter, cream), fast food (burger, pizza), alcohol, sugary items (candy, ice-cream), refined flour, white rice, pasta.
You should also check if you have any allergy to any food item such as dairy products, peanuts, and animal protein.
Anti-oxidants are known to protect veins from oxidative damage. Therefore, consuming a diet high in antioxidants can help protect testicular veins from oxidative damage.
Several studies also suggest that anti-oxidants can help in treating varicocele and improve fertility.
Food high in anti-oxidants: chocolate, onion, garlic, grapes, berries, pumpkin, citrus fruits, tomatoes, watermelon, seafood, milk, nuts, artichokes, kale, goji berries, etc.
Vitamin A, C, and E and minerals such as zinc and selenium are high in anti-oxidants.
The phytochemicals present in plants are a great source of anti-oxidants. They are found in fruits, vegetables, cereal grains, edible fungi and algae, and medicinal plants, Broccoli, soybean, black and red rice, sweet potato, grape, pomegranate, guava, etc.
The conventional treatment options include surgery or embolization but are these the only options left for varicocele treatment?
Varicocele is seen as some genetic disorder that can not be treated naturally. However, varicocele and fertility can be improved if you cut down bad habits and change your lifestyle.
There are some factors that must be controlled to prevent varicocele:
- Sitting for long durations: people with desk jobs mostly sit for a very long period that can raise the temperature of the testicles; High temperature is not good for sperm production.
- Alcohol and cigarette smoking can harm the overall health and, most of all, the veins. The poorly functioning veins are the main reason for varicocele.
- Coffee and caffeinated drinks can increase the blood pressure and, this increased pressure can harm the blood vessels.
- Constipation: When you try to push the stool out hard, you can harm the veins around the rectum and anus.
- over-eating and fast food can make you obese. Fast food contains high sodium, cholesterol, trans fat, and saturated fat that can give rise to high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity.
- Uncomfortable undergarments: The testicles are held by sac-like skin(scrotum) below the penis that helps in keeping a cool temperature for the testicles. wearing tight or uncomfortable underwear can heat the scrotum that can affect sperm production.
- Masturbation: Masturbation is supposed to be a healthy practice but masturbating too many times every day can affect the overall health of a person. It should be done with precaution and in moderation. Moreover, people sometimes indulge in unhealthy ways of masturbation that can cause harm to the penis.
Therapeutic yoga is the use of yoga postures for the treatment of health conditions. It helps to prevent structural, physiological, emotional, or spiritual problems.
Yoga, like other forms of exercise, is also known to improve fertility and blood circulation to the testicles.
You can perform the following yoga asanas to fight varicocele:
Mountain pose or Tadasana 1
Shoulder stand or Sarvangasana 2
Standing forward bend or Uttanasana 3
Legs up the wall or Viparita karani 4
Boat pose or Navasana 5
Wind relieving pose or Pavanamuktasana 6
Fish pose or Matsyasana 7
Correcting Nutcracker syndrome
It occurs when veins of the left kidney get pressed between arteries (Abdomen’s aorta and mesenteric artery). It can cause abdominal pain and blood in the urine.
Nutcracker syndrome is the cause of varicocele in about 30% of cases. 8
Doctors might suggest surgical treatment by moving the left renal vein and reattaching it or bypass surgery.
Keeping your testicles cool
Wear pure cotton undergarments for proper air circulation. This will help to maintain a lower temperature for the testicles.
Langot is cotton made Indian undergarment that is worn as a loincloth. It covers the genitals and buttocks, therefore, it is highly recommended for people suffering from testicular problems such as varicocele, spermatocele, or hydrocele; It also provides great support to the testicles.
You can also wear an athletic supporter to avoid strain on the testicles while performing exercise or gym that can help you avoid most of the problems related to the testicles such as hernia and varicocele.
People who have varicocele or underwent surgery or embolization are also recommended to wear an athletic supporter to avoid pressure on the testicles.
The facts are very clear regarding varicocele treatment: surgery and embolization are the only conventional options of treatment. However, If you are not going for these two options, then doing nothing will not magically treat your varicocele. You have a better chance of treating your condition by following the natural treatment for varicocele as they work on the root cause of the problem.