Chances are you landed on this guide because you’ve learned varicocele is a suspected cause of your fertility challenges. A varicocele is a varicose vein (or abnormally dilated vein) in the scrotum, which may be impacting sperm health and male fertility. Today, surgical repair is the most commonly recommended treatment. While surgery to repair large, palpable veins may improve fertility, success can be more limited for smaller varicoceles leading many men to seek answers for better natural treatment and prevention options.
Varicocele’s Impact on Male Fertility
Not all men with varicocele are infertile. It’s estimated that varicocele affects around 15-20% of healthy, fertile men. Small varicoceles visible only through ultrasound usually require no treatment at all. Still, while varicocele doesn’t lead to fertility problems for everyone, around 40% of infertile men have them. Varicocele is the number one suspected cause of male infertility, followed by low sperm count.
Truthfully, it’s not well understood how a varicocele damages fertility. Experts theorize it increases the temperature of the testicles, possibly lowers testosterone and causes problems with blood flow to the veins that supply the scrotum. Through these actions, it is believed that a varicocele can damage or even kill healthy sperm cells.
Tips for Varicocele Prevention & Natural Support
Varicose veins are a sign that the body’s circulatory system needs support. From a natural perspective, improving circulation, strengthening vein structure and boosting collagen production are keys to overcoming a varicocele and preventing new ones from forming. Here are a few tips:
1. Improve your lifestyle to improve varicoceles. Avoid unhealthy choices that constrict blood flow. Eliminate excess alcohol and caffeine, stimulant drugs, smoking (cigarettes or marijuana), and a low fiber, processed food diet. Consider a Male Fertility Diet for optimum support.
2. Get moving. A sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk for varicoceles. Men who sit or stand for long periods of time may be especially affected. Strive to get 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise 4-5 days a week to support healthy reproductive circulation.
3. Drink more water. Poor reproductive blood flow can mean an overly acidic body with increased free radical activity. Staying hydrated keeps sperm damaging toxins moving out of the body and balances pH for men with varicoceles. It is especially important to avoid high sugar drinks like sodas, energy drinks, and excess alcohol, which set the stage for increased free radical activity and fertility challenges.
4. Think about heart health. Unmanaged diabetes and heart disease can lead to arterial obstruction, poor circulation and varicoceles. If this is the case, address heart health and sugar balance through improvements in diet, regular exercise or medication if necessary.
5. Eat foods high in Vitamin C to enhance collagen production and recovery. Good choices: broccoli, strawberries, citrus fruits, Brussels sprouts, mango, tomato, papaya, kale, and bell peppers. (Choose organic to avoid pesticide exposure.)
6. Drink a daily Circulation/Vein Health Smoothie. Such a Fertility Smoothie is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals (think vitamin C, rutin, potassium, magnesium, etc.) and electrolytes. Blend: 1 banana, 2 cup organic blueberries, 1 cup pineapple fresh chunks, juice of 1 lemon and 2 tsp. greens powder (FertiliGreens or organic Spirulina) and a protein powder. Add water or ice to desired texture. Include ½ inch slice of fresh ginger for an extra boost. (Serves 2).
7. Use herbs to promote vein and capillary health: try Bilberry extract (Vaccinium myrtillus) or Hawthorn extract (Crataegus oxyacantha). A formula with herbs like Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus), Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) and Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica) can produce good results.
8. Add antioxidants to prevent damage to sperm. Ubiquinol and Choice Antioxidants are both good choices for protecting sperm against free radical activity. Learn more about these supplements and others known to benefit sperm health here…
Get Support To Address Varicocele
Varicocele is a concern that men often don’t want to talk about. However, it’s important to address. Severe or chronic varicocele can have a profound effect on sexuality and fertility. Further, your diet and lifestyle choices can be keys to recovery. Surgery may be the best choice for large varicoceles. Even in these cases, natural approaches can be used to help prevent recurrence and strengthen the reproductive system.
Talk with a trusted health practitioner if you’re concerned that a varicocele could be affecting your fertility. Working with a Fertility Herbalist can also help guide you in developing a program for recovery if you’re affected.
- Varicocele Repair for Infertility. (2018). WebMD. Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/men/what-is-varicocele#1
- Report on varicocele and infertility: A committee opinion. (2014). Fertility and Sterility, 102(6), 1556-1560. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2014.10.007. Retrieved from: https://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(14)02234-1/fulltext
- Why Does Varicocele Occur and How To Get Rid of It. (2018). Grocare. Retrieved from: https://www.grocare.com/blog/varicocele-treatment-without-surgery/
- FAQ’s. (2005-2017). Varicocele Specialists. Retrieved from: http://www.varicocelespecialists.com/faq7.htm