OBJECTIVES. Varicocele results from the abnormal dilation of the veins of the pampiniform plexus and is the most common identifiable cause of male infertility. It can develop during puberty and thus affect the testicular growth and function. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and the risk factors for the development of the varicocele among Bulgarian boys.

METHODS. In a prospective study, 6200 boys from 5 regions of the country aged 0 to 19 years were evaluated for varicocele. All were clinically healthy. Height, weight, testicular volumes, penile length, and penile circumference were also examined.

RESULTS. Varicocele was found in 4.1% of all investigated boys, whereas in the age group 10 to 19 years, it was 7.9%. After adjustment for age, the negative factors associated with the development of the disorder were height, penile length, and penile circumference, whereas the weight and BMI had a protective role. The prevalence of varicocele demonstrated clear regional differences, and it was found significantly more often among dark-eyed boys. The incidence of the disease increased rapidly during midpuberty.

CONCLUSIONS. The incidence of varicocele is related to some somatometric parameters and with the accelerated pubertal development. Longitudinal studies are needed to clarify better the relations between the adolescent varicocele and puberty.

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