Varicocele among healthy young men in Turkey; prevalence and relationship with body mass index

Int Braz J Urol. 2012 Jan-Feb;38(1):116-21. doi: 10.1590/s1677-55382012000100016.


Aim: Varicocele is characterized by abnormal tortuosity and dilatation of the veins of the pampiniform plexus within the spermatic cord and is one of the causes related to male infertility. This study aimed to investigate the correlation between varicocele and somatometric parameters. We also aimed to determine prevalence and treatment ratio of this disorder among healthy young Turkish men.

Materials and methods: A total of 2061 young men aged from 19 to 34 years was enrolled and cross sectionally evaluated for status of varicocele. Body mass index was calculated. Patients were categorized as normal weight, overweight and obese using by National Institutes of Health criteria. Patients underwent physical examinations for the presence and grade of varicocele. If the varicocele was found and previously submitted to different treatment modalities, the age of treatment and outcomes were recorded.

Results: Varicocele was present in 498 men (24.2%). The mean age of the participants was 22.7 ± 1.8 years, and the median BMI was 22.8 ± 2.0 kg/m². There were no significant differences in age, height, weight and BMI among the patients with different grades of varicocele (p > 0.05). Although no significant difference was found in varicocele prevalence between normal weight and over-weight participants (p > 0.05), obese participants had significantly lower varicocele prevalence compared with normal or over weight participants (p = 0.006). A total of 49 men had scrotal pain and the treatment ratio was only 2.8%.

Conclusion: Prevalence of varicocele was found in about 24% of healthy young Turkish population. Participants with varicocele had significantly lower BMI values compared with those without varicocele. Our findings supported the hypothesis that individuals with a greater BMI may have advantages in relieving the varicocele, but further studies are required to clarify this issue. Additionally treatment ratio was low among young men with varicocele.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Prevalence
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Turkey / epidemiology
  • Varicocele / epidemiology*
  • Varicocele / etiology
  • Varicocele / therapy
  • Young Adult