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Exercises To Do If You Suffer From Varicocele

By Dr. Bikram K Mohanty +2 more

Varicocele is when an enlargement occurs in the veins of the scrotum which is a thin pouch of skin tissue surrounding the testicles. These veins carry oxygen-poor blood back to the heart from the testicles. Varicoceles occur if the blood collects in the veins instead of circulating out from the scrotum. Varicoceles commonly develop during puberty for many males and may worsen with time. It is a condition that causes discomfort and pain, but the symptoms are not prominent initially. It causes poor or uneven development of the testicles, reduced sperm production or possibly other issues that are involved with a higher risk of infertility. Some of the possible symptoms of varicocele include:

  • Dull, throbbing pain or discomfort, especially when standing for long periods.
  • A mass on the side of the scrotum for a varicocele that is large enough and may be easily noticeable above the testicle on the left side. Smaller varicoceles may be noticeable by touch but too small to see.
  • Testicles may not grow and develop equally leading to different sizes (the affected testicle often turns out smaller).
  • Some varicoceles can cause infertility.

If you experience any of these, you need to consult with your doctor as soon as you can. A timely and accurate diagnosis is important so that it does not cause any serious health problems later. Do not try to self-diagnose or self-medicate, consult the doctor and he or she may suggest surgery or recommend a few helpful exercises for your condition.

exercise for varicocele

Is exercise good for varicocele?

With regular exercise of your calf muscles, you may get temporary relief from the varicocele pain. It lowers the chances of blood pooling in your veins. Hence, healthy and regular physical activities are extremely important for lowering the intensity of varicocele symptoms. Even walking and moving around in the house is beneficial for you and always exercise both your calf muscles every hour. 

Did you know?

5 Exercises for varicocele

1. Legs up-the-wall pose (Viparita Karani)

This exercise boosts blood circulation, it is great for alleviating the pain and discomfort related to varicocele. You must begin by sitting right next to a wall, lie down in a comfortable position, and slowly lift your legs on the wall. Maintain an angle of 90-120 degrees between your body and leg.

You may rest your arms at your sides and breathe regularly. Hold this position for at least 5 minutes and repeat it every day. This is a very easy yoga posture that may also help flush out the blood clot in the scrotal veins, thereby enhancing testicular cooling. It boosts testosterone production and is quite effective for varicocele.

2. Happy baby pose (Ananda Balasana)

This is a very simple exercise that can be done in the comfort of your home. It promotes better blood circulation and stretches both the inner groin and pelvic regions, thereby temporarily easing the pain associated with varicoceles. It also supports better blood drainage from the testicles. First, lay on your back then bend your knees and bring them to your chest. Try to hold your feet with your hands. Now, slowly try to draw your legs downwards while maintaining a flat position with your back against the ground and continue doing this until you feel a mild stretch. Maintain the position for about 1 minute and do this exercise regularly for positive results.

3. Bow pose (Dhanurasana)

Regular practice of Dhanurasana may be involved in stimulating male reproductive organs and smoothening blood circulation across the entire body. It has several physical benefits, while also relieving stress and anxiety. Start by first lying down flat on your stomach while keeping your feet slightly apart and your arms at your sides. Next, fold your knees to raise your legs behind you, you may try to hold your ankles behind your back. While inhaling, attempt to slowly raise your legs and chest away from the ground. Once you get in a comfortable position, breathe deeply and maintain the pose for about half a minute or less.

4. Thunderbolt pose (Vajrasana)

Start by kneeling with both knees on the floor. You can use a yoga mat for added comfort. Keep your ankles and knees together and sit down on your heels. Make sure you sit erect with your buttocks resting on your heels. Meanwhile, your thighs should be resting on your calves as the big toes of both feet touch each other. Place your hands on top of your knees, keep your arms relaxed, head straight and chin parallel to the ground. Try to focus on your breathing as you slowly inhale and exhale air. Hold in this pose for about 5 or 10 minutes and gradually increase the time to around 30 minutes per day. This exercise has several benefits, from strengthening the sexual organs and pelvic muscles, thereby alleviating the varicocele pain. Vajrasana also promotes blood flow to the pelvic area and thus checks the varicoceles from worsening.

5. Walking

Walking every day has several health benefits, particularly for varicocele. You must gently walk around as it helps improve blood circulation. Since poor blood circulation is thought to be the main cause of varicocele, regular walks can, to some extent, cut down the chance of developing them in the first place. Walking may also be essential for helping to ease swelling and pain in the scrotum. 

Along with these exercises, deep breathing can help you feel relaxed, reduces stress and provides relief from the symptoms of varicoceles. Make sure you consult the doctor before performing these exercises. You must always perform any yoga poses correctly and let your doctor know if you have any health conditions as all exercises may not be ideal for people with orthopaedic issues, back pain, joint pain and others.

Varicoceles are very common, don’t usually cause any complications and do not usually require any treatment unless they make a person very uncomfortable or if they cause clinical infertility.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D.

Exercise to avoid varicocele

While exercising can be very beneficial for your condition, you should avoid straining your body too much as it may aggravate the pain and inflammation. Avoid lifting weights because it increases pressure on the veins in your legs, which can make your condition worse. You must also avoid doing squats and lunges which add strain and excessive running is not recommended if you have varicocele. Use caution and speak with a doctor if you are planning to perform any exercises for varicocele. 

Some believe that Kegel exercises can help in alleviating the symptoms of varicocele. These are easy-to-do pelvic exercises that, when done consistently, can improve and restore muscle tone and blood flow. They are thought to relieve issues like incontinence and varicoceles

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Also Read: Groin Pain When Walking: Understanding the Causes and Solutions

Conclusion 

Varicocele can be quite concerning, it affects your normal life and can cause pain and worry. There are several self-care options you can try for temporary relief but surgery may be the only proper treatment for this condition. To avoid getting varicocele, you may begin doing these exercises regularly. Always consult your doctor to check which exercises are safe for you and what treatment options you should opt for.  

FAQs

What will happen if I leave varicocele untreated?

If you leave varicocele untreated, you may suffer from fertility issues years later, even if not seen earlier. You may experience low sperm quality or count and it will greatly affect your sexual life.

Can exercise completely fix varicocele?

Exercise can help temporarily reduce the risk of varicocele and ease the pain if you already have them. However, exercises alone cannot fix existing varicoceles and you will require medical attention. 

What are some self-care tips for varicocele?

The main self-care measures to take if you suffer from varicocele include regular exercise, avoiding standing for long hours, maintaining your digestive health, and wearing comfortable underwear which offers testicular support, but is not too tight as it may restrict blood flow.

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Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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