Background: The objective of this study was to evaluate if there is a combined effect of varicocele and cell phone storage in trousers pockets on semen and hormonal parameters.
Methods: A retrospective analysis of 468 men attending an infertility clinic from 1993-2007 was performed. Varicoceles were determined by clinical examination and patients were questioned on cell phone usage and storage fashion. Semen samples were analyzed according to the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines of 1999. Serum testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) were assessed.
Results: There was a significant effect of cell phone storage in trousers pockets and varicocele in multivariate analysis (both p < 0.001). Varicocele showed an effect on sperm concentration (p = 0.003), LH (p = 0.014) and testosterone (p = 0.003). Compared to grade 1, grade 2 varicoceles showed a difference in sperm concentration (p = 0.004). Regarding testosterone differences were shown for grade 3 versus grade 1 (p = 0.002) and grade 3 compared to grade 2 (p = 0.003). Cell phone storage in trousers pockets showed an influence on the percentage of normal sperm morphology and LH (both p < 0.001). Varicocele and cell phone storage in trousers pockets did not show a combined effect (p = 0.76).
Conclusions: This analysis showed an inverse relation between sperm concentration and degree of varicocele, with lower concentrations in higher grade varicoceles. Testosterone was significantly higher in higher grade varicoceles, which could reflect a compensatory mechanism to the impaired testicular function. Cell phone storage in trousers pockets showed an effect on LH and sperm morphology. A combined effect of varicocele and cell phone storage in trousers pockets was not detected.
Keywords: Cell phone; Hormonal parameters; Semen parameters; Subfertility; Varicocele.