Does left varicocele impair right testicular function?
The aim of this study is to evaluate the potential effect of varicocele in the hormonal and clinical profile of adolescents. Twenty adolescents at Tanner stage 4–5 with left varicocele were studied and compared with a control group of 20 healthy adolescents. All patients underwent ultrasonographic testicular volumetry as well as hormonal evaluation of inhibin B, testosterone, baseline and gonadotropin-releasing hormone stimulated, follicle-stimulating hormone as well as luteinizing hormone. Statistical analysis was performed using the student’s t test with p value <0.05 taken as statistical significant. Patients with varicocele showed reduced levels of inhibin B compared to controls and a significant reduction in the testicular volume on the affected side. The response of luteinizing hormone to gonadotropin-releasing hormone stimulation was significantly higher in the varicocele group compared to the control group. Furthermore a significant inverse relationship of inhibin B compared to follicle-stimulating hormone was noted. Serum inhibin B levels could represent a useful marker of Sertoli cell damage caused by varicocele.