Is varicocele prevalence increasing with age?

U. Levinger, M. Gornish, Y. Gat, G. N. Bachar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Varicocele is a bilateral vascular disease which occurs when the one-way valves in the internal spermatic veins, the testicular venous drainage system, malfunction. Based on new findings and fluid-mechanics analysis we showed that this process results in vertical blood columns, which cause pathological hydrostatic pressure in the testicular venous microcirculatory system. Ultimately, these pressures exceed the pressure in the arteriolar system. This unique phenomenon of reversal of pressures gradient between the arteriolar and venular systems leads to persistent hypoxia in the testosterone production site, namely, the Leydig cells. The result of bilateral varicocele is decreased testosterone production. Adequate treatment of bilateral varicocele significantly elevates the testosterone production. We found that the prevalence of varicocele increases with age with a rise of about 10% for each decade of life with the incidence reaching 75% in the eight decade of life. Based on our findings the following statements can be made: (1) varicocele prevalence is increased over time. (2) The rise of the incidence is about 10% for each decade of life. (3) 75% of men in the eight decade of their life have varicocele. As varicocele decreases testosterone production and it is reversible by appropriate treatment, it raises two interesting and important issues to be studied: (i) it is possible that varicocele accelerates the process of the ageing male. (ii) It is possible to retard, at least partially, the process of ageing in men by adequate treatment of bilateral varicocele.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-80
Number of pages4
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Ageing
  • Epidemiology
  • Testosterone
  • Varicocele


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