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Foods To Eat And Avoid With Varicocele

By Saksham Bhatia +2 more

Varicocele is a condition that affects the scrotum in males, causing the veins to enlarge or appear twisted. The scrotum is a protective sac of skin that contains the testicles in males. When the veins are damaged or weak, the veins in the scrotum are unable to push blood back towards the heart effectively. This results in blood collecting within the veins and making them larger, with a rope-like appearance.

Varicocele does not always have a visible appearance and not all males with this condition experience symptoms. However, some men may face pain, swelling, discomfort and lumpy mass. If you experience any symptoms of varicocele, meet with your doctor immediately for a physical examination. Your doctor may recommend surgery or simple self-care measures. You may also need to change your diet to avoid worsening your condition. Scroll down to see a few dietary recommendations in case you have varicocele:


9 Best foods that are good for a person with varicocele

1. Leafy greens

Leafy greens are chock-full of nutrients and fibre. Nutrients like vitamins and minerals can support a healthy body. Fibre is vital for smooth digestion. Without sufficient fibre, you may experience constipation and strain when you go to the toilet. This can add pressure to your scrotum and worsen your varicocele symptoms.

2. Apples

Apples are a great source of fibre and nutrition. Fibre not only lowers the risk of constipation but can also help with proper blood circulation. Apples are an easy source of fibre and can be eaten at any time of the day. 

3. Vitamin C veggies and fruits

Vitamin C is vital for the regular functioning of the immune system, easing inflammation and strengthening the veins. Citrus fruits and veggies include tomatoes, bell peppers, avocados, broccoli oranges, lemons and peppers. 

4. Celery

Celery has a few calories but is a great source of vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for healthy blood circulation. Celery is also rich in fibre and other nutrients.

5. Garlic

Garlic has traditionally been used for easing stomach issues and nausea for centuries. Garlic may also be involved in keeping blood flow constant, which is beneficial for varicocele.

6. Antioxidant foods

Antioxidants are required by the body for fixing cell damage and fighting free radicals. The veins of your body may experience extensive damage during your lifetime; hence antioxidants are essential to keep them healthy. Some fruits and veggies rich in antioxidants include cabbage, spinach, beetroot, radish, sweet potatoes, purple/red grapes, pears, guava, mango, watermelon and papaya. 

7. Green tea

Green tea is also a good source of antioxidants, but it is extra beneficial due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation may result in swelling of the scrotum due to varicocele, but green tea may decrease your body’s inflammatory response. 

8. Whole grains

Whole grains like oats, whole wheat (and whole wheat flour), sorghum, millet and brown rice are power-packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre. To maintain regular bowel movements, whole grains should be an important part of your diet. 

9. Omega-3 foods

Omega-3 fatty acids are used throughout the body in the cell walls, making them an integral nutrient. Omega-3 can also contribute to healthier blood and blood circulation. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids include fatty fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel, as well as vegetarian sources like walnuts, flaxseed oil and soybean oil. 

Foods to avoid with varicocele

An unhealthy diet will affect your overall health condition, which in turn can make your varicocele worse. Foods that are hard to digest or those that affect your blood pressure and circulation can be very harmful when you have this condition. 

  • Refined flour – Refined flour is high in carbohydrates and lacks fibre. This may contribute to digestive issues as well as increased blood pressure. 
  • Junk food – Junk foods tend to be high in sugar, fats and salt. All three can affect your weight, cardiovascular health and blood pressure. These processed foods also tend to be harder to digest. High blood pressure and digestive issues can make your varicocele symptoms worse. 
  • Salty foods – Salty foods increase the amount of sodium in your body. Sodium is strongly linked to increased blood pressure. Higher blood pressure is not good for people suffering from varicocele. High-sodium foods include canned and processed items, junk foods, fried potato chips, readymade pre-cooked meals and more. 

Extra virgin olive oil is known for its rich content of omega-3 fatty acids making it a potential choice of food to suppress varicoceles. Researchers have found that sperm motility and concentration have a favourable correlation with extra virgin olive oil intake. In my opinion, extra virgin olive oil may aid in male infertility associated with varicocele.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Varicocele-friendly recipes to try

1. Beets and carrot soup 

  • Stir fry one chopped onion in vegetable oil until lightly brown
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of finely chopped ginger and 1-2 cloves of finely minced garlic
  • Add three medium beetroots (diced) and 500 g of carrots (chopped) and stir it for a few seconds
  • Add a few cups of readymade or homemade vegetable stock (choose a low salt option)
  • Let it simmer for about 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender
  • Let it cool a little, then blend the mixture until smooth 
  • Add any additional garnish and seasoning (salt, pepper, dhania or mint leaves)

2. Super simple salad 

  • Thinly slice or grate one beetroot and two medium carrots. 
  • In a smaller container, combine one tablespoon of olive oil,  ½ a teaspoon of minced ginger, a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon/lime juice (you can use apple cider vinegar too) 
  • Mix the dressing thoroughly and drizzle it over the carrots and beetroots 

3. Antioxidant smoothie

  • Dice two medium pears and remove the seeds and stems 
  • Blend it for a few seconds to break up the large chunks 
  • Add in fresh orange juice (2-3 oranges or more, depending on your preference)
  • Add  ½ a teaspoon of minced or grated ginger
  • Blend it all together until smooth 
  • Add a little water and a very small amount of salt if required
  • If you prefer a little sweetness, add one tablespoon of honey 

Studies have shown that the consumption of fruits and vegetables containing vitamins D and E may aid in varicocele. Vitamin D and E are known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, making them a potential choice to cope with the effects of varicocele. I recommend consuming avocado, kiwi, papaya, and strawberries as they have a good amount of these vitamins.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Conclusion 

Balanced nutrition is a necessity for staying healthy and fit. Medical intervention may be required to fix varicocele permanently, but your diet will play a big role in how well you manage your condition. No diet can completely get rid of varicocele or stop it from occurring. What a healthy diet can do instead is decrease the risk of additional inflammation and vein damage while enhancing your overall fitness. Speak to your doctor regarding any dietary changes you need to make due to varicocele and follow their instructions.  

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Q1. What should you not eat with varicocele?

You should avoid excess refined carbohydrates, added sugar, canned and salty foods, as well as lifestyle habits like alcohol and smoking if you have varicocele. 

Q2. Can varicocele be fixed through diet?

No, even a healthy diet alone cannot fix varicocele. You may require medical treatment or surgery as a permanent solution. A healthy diet can possibly decrease the risk of further damage and enable you to recover better after surgery. 

Q3. What foods are good for vein health?

Foods rich in fibre, vitamins C and E and omega-3 fatty acids are good for vein health. These include fatty fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts and whole grains. 

Q4. What complications can varicocele cause?

In most cases, varicocele does not cause any symptoms. In some cases, it may lead to complications like low testosterone levels, poor sperm production and infertility, pain in the scrotum and shrinking of the testicles. 

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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Emmanuel Baffoe

Very educative and helpful.