Tests and diagnosisBy Mayo Clinic staff
Your doctor will conduct a physical exam, which may reveal a twisted, nontender mass above your testicle that may feel like what's been described as a bag of worms. If it's large enough, your doctor will be able to feel it. If you have a smaller varicocele, your doctor may ask you to stand, take a deep breath and hold it while you bear down (Valsalva maneuver). This helps your doctor detect abnormal enlargement of the veins.
If the physical exam is inconclusive, your doctor may order a scrotal ultrasound. This test, which uses high-frequency sound waves to create precise images of structures inside your body, may be used to ensure there isn't another reason for your symptoms. One such condition is a tumor that compresses the spermatic vein.
- Mohammed A, et al. Testicular varicocele: An overview. Urology International. 2009;82:373.
- Varicoceles. American Urological Association Foundation. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=116. Accessed Oct. 31, 2011.
- Khera M, et al. Evolving approach to the varicocele. Urologic Clinics of North America. 2008;35:183.
- Robinson SP, et al. Treatment strategy for the adolescent varicocele. Urologic Clinics of North America. 2010;37:269.
- Wampler SM, et al. Common scrotal and testicular problems. Primary Care Clinics in Office Practice. 2010;37:613.