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Teenage Testicular Condition May Lead to Infertility
Infertility is probably the last thing on teenage boys' minds. However, a new study out of Brazil suggests that early treatment of a common testicular condition could preserve future fatherhood potential for some adolescents.
A varicocele is a widening of the veins in the scrotum, which house the testicles. While frequently harmless, varicoceles can cause pain, testicular shrinkage and, over time, can potentially lead to lower sperm counts and quality.
The condition, which is similar to varicose veins, is estimated to affect 15 percent of men over 15. But it is found in more than a third of men being assessed for primary infertility -- an inability to biologically father a child -- and 80 percent of secondary infertility cases -- men who were once able to father a child but are not able to do so anymore.
Although varicoceles may not be the sole cause of infertility in all those cases, the close association with infertility and apparent worsening of the effect over time suggest early surgical correction of the flawed veins could have important benefits later on, the authors note.