Men who suffer symptoms from varicoceles, enlarged veins in the scrotum, are more likely to develop vascular disease and metabolic disease, such as diabetes, according to a study by Stanford University School of Medicine researchers.
Michael Eisenberg, MD, assistant professor of urology, and his team mined data from thousands of medical insurance records to see whether the condition, previously linked to infertility, also puts men at higher risk for other health problems.
Their findings were published online Dec. 1 in Andrology. Eisenberg is the senior author. Urology resident Nancy Wang, MD, is the lead author.
About 15 percent of American men are estimated to have varicoceles, dilated veins in the scrotum. The enlarged veins are thought to allow more blood to flow through the scrotum and raise its temperature above normal levels. The heat can impair testicular function leading to lower sperm and testosterone production. The condition also can cause pain or shrinkage of the testicles, but often results in none of these symptoms and is left untreated.