The mass a young man may feel in the testicle isn't dangerous but can be alarming.
"They feel it because the cord is thicker and sometimes the veins can be like varicose veins in the legs," urologist Dr. Andrew McCullough said.
A common age to find the problem is when a young man begins to workout.
"A 14-year-old [who thinks], ‘summer coming up, I am going to buff up and I am going to start lifting weights,’ and he bears down and notices, ‘oh my goodness I have this mass around my testicle.’ It's just extra veins but he's concerned because it's unsightly," Dr. McCullough said.
One obvious symptom is a difference in size of the testes.
"Are we seeing a sign on the left side the teste smaller than the right side, and a 20 percent difference in size is usually what we use as a marker," Dr. McCullough said.
There’s no increased risk of cancer with varicocele, but pain can be one of the symptoms.
“Usually the pain is at the end of the day, it's not severe pain, it's like someone is squeezing his teste," Dr. McCullough said.
As for treatment, McCullough says, "For the mild case if a guy has pain after he works out, he can wear tight compressive workout clothes. If it's a chronic pain you can embolize them with X-ray equipment and a balloon to block off veins.”
For men who delay treatment, they may increase the risk of infertility.
"The blood is coming in through the veins and the artery, so you have the testicle that is at a higher temperature than it should which is not good for sperm production," Dr. McCullough said.