Objective: We carried out a nationwide epidemiological study to evaluate the prevalence and effect of varicoceles on testicular volume in South Korean adolescents. We also investigated the correlation between varicoceles and body mass index (BMI).Methods: In this prospective study, physical examinations were carried out to assess the presence and severity of varicoceles in middle school boys from six regions of South Korea. Testicular volume, height and weight of all boys were measured. The prevalence of varicoceles was assessed. The associations between age, testicular volume, BMI, and the presence and severity of varicoceles were examined.Results: A total of 1938 boys with a mean age of 14.1 years (range 13-16 years) were screened. A varicocele was found on the left side in 295 (15.2%) boys and on the right side in 8 (0.4%) boys. Bilateral varicoceles were found in 17 (0.9%) individuals. Of the subjects with a left varicocele, 151 (51.2%), 80 (27.1%) and 64 (25.1%) boys had a grade 1, 2 or 3 varicocele, respectively. The prevalence of varicoceles did not increase with age. The proportion of boys with testicular size discrepancies increased with the severity of the varicocele. After adjusting for age, BMI had a negative correlation with the presence of varicoceles.Conclusions: The prevalence of varicoceles in South Korean middle school boys is 16.5%. The presence of varicoceles seems to have a negative effect on testicular growth. BMI has a significant inverse relationship with the occurrence of varicoceles.
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