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: Neurogenic Bladder

A to Z: Neurogenic Bladder

The term neurogenic bladder refers to a bladder that doesn't function properly because of nervous system damage.

More to Know

Functions like filling, storing, and emptying the bladder are regulated by nerves. When these nerves become damaged, nerve signals are disrupted and loss of bladder control results.

Neurogenic bladder is often caused by an injury, tumor, or defect of the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Diseases like cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and neural tube defects like spina bifida also can be responsible. Sometimes nerve damage due to heavy, long-term alcohol use, diabetes, or a slipped disk will cause the problem.

Symptoms of neurogenic bladder may include frequent urination (peeing), inability to fully empty the bladder, incontinence (the accidental release of urine), and urinary retention (inability to urinate). People with the disorder are also more likely to develop urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Treatment for neurogenic bladder might include medication, strengthening exercises, or the use of a urinary catheter. Some people will need surgery to help ease symptoms.

Keep in Mind

Neurogenic bladder is not curable, but it is manageable. It's important to see a doctor as soon as the condition develops, however. Left untreated it can lead to kidney failure, which can be life threatening.

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

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Date reviewed: September 26, 2016