Considering that your nuts are attached to your body and dependent on blood flow, there’s gonna be some veins down there. Moreover, ball skin is relatively thin, meaning that the veins beneath it can present as more visible than normal. Not to mention, like veins elsewhere on the body, testicle veins can dilate, causing them to rise and further enhancing their prominence. On your legs, this is typically referred to as varicose veins. On your scrotum, it’s often a harmless, normal part of aging. When the veins dilate in the testicles themselves, however, they’re called varicoceles, and they work a bit differently.
Per Michael Ingber, a urologist at Garden State Urology and medical director for COR Medspa in New Jersey, they’re still pretty common, with about 15 percent of men possessing varicoceles. “Varicoceles in general aren’t dangerous, but if they get very large, they can be visible and uncomfortable,” he explains. “Most of the men we see in our urology clinic are grade I, which means we generally find them incidentally on an ultrasound. Large varicoceles are grades II and III. Some young men who come to see us are bothered by them as they can be unsightly.”
It is possible for varicoceles to impact fertility, as they can contribute to lower sperm production and quality. To that end, in Ingber’s experience, varicoceles are more common among men seeking fertility treatment than the general population, with about 40 percent of fertility clients presenting them.
Most commonly, though, varicoceles are only a problem in that they’re highly unpleasant — both physically and mentally. As the Mayo Clinic explains, “a varicocele has been described as looking like a ‘bag of worms,’” which is surely the last way anyone wants their testicles to appear. They can also become sore and painful, worsening with physical exertion.
Luckily, there are a number of minimally-invasive ways of eliminating varicoceles. “Sometimes we do a quick incision and fix them directly; other times we use robotic technology to laparoscopically tie off the main vein to the testicle,” Ingber tells me. “There are also ways in which our colleagues in interventional radiology will inject a material through a catheter placed in the groin to ‘seal’ off the vein.”
As for treating veins on the scrotum, this can typically be done with lasers. “It’s a similar technology that we use for leg varicose veins and for hair removal,” Ingber says. “A laser is ‘fired’ on the scrotum, which causes the dilated vein to collapse on itself. After several weeks, the vein fades away. This is well-tolerated in the office setting.”
And so it goes — until, of course, veiny balls are considered as sexy and cool as veiny muscles and dicks.