• Varicocele;
  • Premature Ejaculation;
  • Prostatitis


Introduction.  No study has ever systematically evaluated the impact of varicocele on sexual function.

Aim.  Two cross-sectional studies were performed in patients attending an andrology unit either for male sexual dysfunction (study 1) or couple infertility (study 2). In study 1, we evaluated the impact of varicocele on sexual function. In study 2, we retrospectively evaluated a possible association between varicocele and prostatitis signs and symptoms.

Methods.  Study 1 refers to a consecutive series of 2,448 (mean age 52.0 ± 12.9 years) subjects. Study 2 consists of a consecutive series of 139 male subjects (mean age 37.3 ± 6.3).

Main Outcome Measures.  In study 1, varicocele was clinically classified into three grades according to Dubin criteria. Different hormonal parameters were also evaluated. All the patients of study 2 underwent simultaneous scrotal and transrectal color-Doppler ultrasonography (CDU) along with seminal characteristics and interleukin-8, a surrogate marker of prostatitis.

Results.  After adjusting for age, subjects with severe varicocele (N = 284, 11.6%; Dubin grade 2 and 3) showed a reduction of testicular volume (P < 0.01), higher luteinizing hormone (LH) (P < 0.05), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) (P < 0.0001) and prolactin (P < 0.05) levels, and also an enlarged or tender prostate at digito-rectal examination (P < 0.05). Premature ejaculation was the only sexual symptoms significantly associated with varicocele (29.2% vs. 24.9% in subjects with or without varicocele, respectively; P < 0.05). In study 2, subjects with severe echographic-defined varicocele (basal venous reflux increasing or not after Valsalva's maneuver; N = 28, 20.1%) showed CDU features of prostatitis and higher seminal inteleukin-8 levels. The presence of any degree of varicocele (N = 40, 28.8%) was also associated with prostatitis symptoms, as measured by the National Institutes of Health Chronic Prostatitis Symptom Index scoring (P < 0.05), and in particular with the pain domain (P < 0.05).

Conclusions.  In conclusion, signs and symptoms of prostatitis are more common in varicocele patients, who more often complain of premature ejaculation. Lotti F, Corona G, Mancini M, Biagini C, Colpi GM, Innocenti SD, Filimberti E, Gacci M, Krausz C, Sforza A, Forti G, Mannucci E, and Maggi M. The association between varicocele, premature ejaculation and prostatitis symptoms: Possible mechanisms. J Sex Med 2009;6:2878–2887.