'Strong' Sperm, Impotence, Male Menopause and Varicocele

Varicose veins may look gross on a woman's feet, but in men’s case, the problem is not only aesthetic. Especially when the veins are located in the ‘wrong place’. They can produce infertility, impotence and an array of severe issues.

Two new reports from physician-scientists
at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center reveal that a common factor of male infertility are varicoceles (varicose veins) in the scrotum, which induce a severe drop in the testosterone levels. Researchers also show that the simple surgery for removing varicoceles restores fertility and increases testosterone percentages in the bloodstream.

"People often forget or often don't realize that the testes have two purposes. One is the production of the sex cells (sperm), and the other is to produce testosterone.", said lead researcher Dr. Marc Goldstein, Professor of Urology and Reproductive Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and attending urologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, who received the Howard and Georgeanna Jones Life Time Achievement Award by The American Fertility Association.

Goldstein checked and proved that varicoceles plummet significantly the testosterone levels. After the varicocele removal, testosterone levels increased greatly, up to 100 %, in about 70 % of the subjects.

The decreased testosterone synthesis translated into andropause, similar to menopause (low estrogen levels) in women. This means low sex drive, impotence, decreased muscular power, exhaustion, and even depression. Another nasty effect is vulnerability to osteopenia and osteoporosis (weakened bones).

Testosterone synthesis drops when varicoceles widen and curl around the testes. This can be hereditary and may develop in 15 % of all men, even from puberty. The disease also causes sterility because of the low sperm count and their bad quality. 35 % of all cases of primary infertility (first pregnancy attempt) and 80% of secondary infertility (following a successful impregnation) are caused by varicoceles.

Goldstein developed for the first time the microsurgery procedure, now standard in the treatment and removal of varicoceles.