Varicocoele refers to abnormally dilated veins that drain the blood from the testicle. The valves in the vein are not formed correctly, or breakdown, and the vein subsequently enlarges. It has been described as appearing like a bag or worms. Varicocoele usually appear at the time of puberty but may not be noticed until many years later. This is generally a painless condition but some men may complain of an ache or heaviness in the testes with prolonged lifting or standing.
Varicocoeles can be associated with male infertility and abnormal sperm counts. Ligation (tying off) the dilated veins (called a varicocoelectomy) may help infertility problems and is often considered in younger males with larger varicocoeles. The great majority of varicocoeles are on the left side, however they can be found on both sides or only on the right.