Varicoceles

A varicocele means there is enlargement of the veins in the scrotum caused by stasis of blood flow. The stasis can cause blood to pool in the vessel until the vessel wall begins to bulge, and the scrotal sac swells. Though it may appear earlier, a varicocele usually develops around the age of 15 (puberty) and often occurs on the left side.

 
What are the signs or symptoms of a varicocele?

If your son has a varicocele, he may not experience any pain or swelling, except perhaps during physical exercise. While bathing, he might notice a large vein in his scrotum, or that one testis is smaller than the other. Varicoceles are sometimes discovered during routine physical examinations.

 
How are varicoceles treated?

If a varicocele is found during a physical examination by your child’s primary care physician, your child will be referred to a pediatric urologist. Your Nemours urologist will do a comprehensive evaluation of your child’s condition, including a physical examination and medical history.

If there’s concern about the size of the testis, your doctor will order a scrotal/testicular ultrasound. Based on this test, the doctor will discuss treatment and therapy options for your child.

If your son isn’t experiencing pain or discomfort, the recommendation may be to closely monitor growth and development of the testes as he goes through puberty.

If there is a significant difference in the size of the two testes, or if your son is experiencing pain, then surgical correction may be indicated. Nemours urologists can usually do this as an outpatient procedure, and in a few weeks your son can get back to normal activities.

A to Z: Edema

A to Z: Edema

Edema (eh-DEE-mah) is swelling due to the build-up of excess fluid in the body's tissues.

More to Know

Most often edema is found in the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or legs, but it can affect any part of the body, separately or as a whole. Signs of edema include stretched or shiny skin and dimples that remain in the skin after pressing down for 5 seconds.

Many things can cause edema, like sunburn, insect bites and stings, and even some medicines. Certain diseases of the heart, liver, kidneys, and thyroid also can cause edema.

Treatment of edema depends on what's causing it. It may be as simple as taking an antihistamine if due to an allergic reaction. Or, if it's related to the heart or kidney, a doctor might recommend taking a medicine called a diuretic (or water pill) to reduce swelling. Also, wearing support stockings or cutting back on salt intake can help. If another condition, like a liver or thyroid problem, is causing edema, the doctor will treat that, too.

Keep in Mind

Edema can be a temporary nuisance or a sign of a more serious problem. It should be evaluated by a health care provider to determine the cause. If you see signs of edema along with difficulty breathing or chest pain, call 911 or go to the emergency room right away.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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Date reviewed: September 26, 2016