Introduction and Objectives
We planned this study to investigate the relation between obesity and varicocele, and to determine the impact of height on this issue.
Material and Methods
The files of 791 patients who admitted to urology clinic for infertility were analyzed retrospectively. The data of 245 patients with left palpable varicoceles were compared with the data of 248 men who admitted the same clinic with sexual problems, without infertility or history of varicocele. The patients with right or bilateral varicoceles were not included in the study. Body mass index (BMI) was used in order to analyze the relation between height and weight. The patients with varicoceles were grouped as normal (BMI < 25 kg/m2), overweight (BMI between 25–30 kg/m2)or obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2). The means were compared using Student's t test, the age and height comparisons according to BMI were made using ANOVA, and the frequency comparisons were performed using Chi-square test.
Two hundred ninety eight of 791 patients (37.7%) had varicoceles. The mean±SD BMI of 245 left varicocele patients (25.1±3.4 kg/m2) was significantly smaller when compared to the control group (26.5±3.9 kg/m2) (p< 0.001). The heights of the varicocele patients (172±5.7 cm) were longer than the control group (170±5.7 cm) (p < 0.001). The number of the varicocele patients decreased as the BMI increased, and the number of the normal-weight varicocele patients (n = 119; 48.6%) was approximately five fold of the ones that were obese (n = 24; 9.8%) (p < 0.001). The mean height of the obese varicocele patients (167±2.1 cm) was significantly shorter than the ones who had a normal weight (173±5.9 cm) and than the ones who were overweight (171±5.3 cm) (p < 0.001). The mean age of the obese patients (36.5±11.1 years) was greater than the normal-weight ones (25.3±5.7 years) and than the ones who were overweight (29.2±7.9 years) (p < 0.001) (Table 1).
Table 1.Comparison of the varicocele patients according to their BMI categories
|Age (year)||Height (cm)||Weight (kg)||BMI (kg/m2)|
|Normal (n = 119)||25.3±5.7||173±5.9||67.2±5.9||22.3±1.4|
|Overweight (n = 102)||29.2±7.9||171±5.3||78.5±6.3||26.6±0.9|
|Obese (n = 24)||36.5±11.1||167±2.1||90.4±4.6||32.3±1.5|
|Total (n = 245)||28±8.1||172±5.7||74.2±9.6||25.1±3.4|
* ANOVA test. The values are presented as mean±standard deviation
We found a significant and inverse relationship between obesity and varicocele. We observed that the patients with varicocele were taller and thinner when compared to the control group. The heights of the obese varicocele patients were shorter than the non-obese ones. Increased fat tissue in the obese patients may decrease the pressure at their left renal vein, and the patients’ shorter stature and hence their shorter left internal spermatic vein may result in a lower hydrostatic pressure in this vein.
© 2009 European Association of Urology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.