Can a varicocele keep me from growing?

Last updated on September 15, 2020



I’m 14 years old and started having pain in my right and left testicle about six months ago. The doctors told me nothing and said that I was fine. However, three months ago the left testicle became bumpy and wormy and had extreme pain. I went back to the doctor. I knew it was a varicocele. He again told me everything was fine but I got angry and demanded an ultrasound. I was then diagnosed as having “a large left-side varicocele and a right-sided 6 mm epidermal cyst.” Now I have an operation scheduled.

The first time I went to the doctor, he grinned when he saw my penis and said “Well, that’s a little one.” He said it would be hard to see why I hadn’t grown. Up until then, I thought I was normal.

Four months ago in my school, we had a puberty session and I was severely embarrassed when the teacher asked for a truthful tally of sizes. When I saw the average was 4″ and mine was 2″, I just said 3″ and even then the whole classed laughed. I am now the only one in my whole school year whose voice hasn’t changed or broke at all. I went from being the tallest to being one of the shortest in three years.

I have had pubic hair and armpit hair for three years. It has seemed that after the first year of growing it all just stopped. The doctors said there’s nothing they can do. It is small and very peculiar. They said that my varicocele may be affecting my growth by heating the testicle; therefore, inhibiting growth but had no conclusion.

Please, may I have some expert advice on my situation?

By the way, I do not masturbate, am not sexually active in any way, and have not had any wet dreams.


There are pieces in your story that do not match up. It is hard to imagine that you have such an incompetent doctor who did not recognize the signs of a varicocele and who inappropriately made a comment about a boy’s penis size. I also am amazed (though less so) that a teacher inappropriately asked boys to talk about their penis size in class. This would be equivalent to asking girls about their breast size or to publicly discuss a person’s weight.

Let’s start with the epidermal cyst. This means you have an oil gland that is swelling up in the skin of your scrotum on the right side. 6mm is large enough to easily see. Treatment can be to remove the entire oil gland, drain the oil gland, or treat it with antibiotics to reduce the swelling. An epidermal cyst would not affect your growth in any way.

A varicocele is when one or more valves in the veins in your scrotum don’t work causing blood to pool. The pain comes from the veins being stretched. The extra blood raises the temperature of the testicle on that size and can cause problems. The most common problem is a lack of sperm production. In a teenager, it can impact the growth of the testicle on that side and potentially damage the cells that produce your male hormones. Usually, the other testicle makes up for the damaged testicle, though a varicocele, even on one side, can impact both testicles. Surgical correction of the varicocele in a teenager typically results in the testicles repairing themselves and making up for lost ground. This again is something that doesn’t match. You said the doctor indicates there was nothing they can do, yet the surgery is what is called for and there should be a good probability of returning to normal growth. You might not hit the maximum height you could have reached because of this pause in your growth, but unless there are other complicating factors, I would expect your growth to resume after surgery. For more information, see Varicocele.

Even if the testicles are not able to repair themselves, there is the option for an endocrinologist to regulate your hormones so that you finish your development. It would be a rare case, and it would mean that you would be infertile (unable to have children), but you would still be able to have sex because that involves other glands in your body.