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Volume 20, Issue 4 (July 2018) 20, 360–365; 10.4103/aja.aja_78_17

Chronic epididymitis and Grade III varicocele and their associations with semen characteristics in men consulting for couple infertility

Alejandro Oliva1, Luc Multigner2

1 Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, National University of Rosario, Rosario 2000, Argentina
2 University of Rennes, Inserm, EHESP, Irset (Institut de recherche en santé, environnement et travail), UMR_S 1085, Rennes F-35000, France

Correspondence: Dr. L Multigner (luc.multigner@inserm.fr)

Date of Submission 17-Jul-2017 Date of Acceptance 07-Dec-2017 Date of Web Publication 06-Mar-2018


Chronic epididymitis and varicocele are frequently observed genital disorders in men consulting for couple infertility, but their impact on semen characteristics at the time of infertility consultation is still a matter of debate. We investigated 652 male partners of couples who had their first infertility consultation between 1999 and 2015 in Argentina. Men with chronic epididymitis (n = 253), Grade III varicocele (n = 106), and both conditions (n = 125) were compared with a control group (n = 168) composed of men without these disorders or any other recognized causes of male infertility. We showed that men who presented isolated chronic epididymitis were more likely to have high percentages of low sperm motility and abnormal sperm morphology as well as a high number of white blood cells. Men with isolated Grade III varicocele had low sperm production and motility and an increased percentage of abnormal sperm morphology. Finally, men who simultaneously presented chronic epididymitis with Grade III varicocele had a low sperm motility and increased percentage of abnormal sperm morphology as well as a high number of white blood cells. Physical examination of the genital organs may identify common disorders, potentially involved as causal factors of patient's infertility. These disorders are associated with specific seminal profiles that should help in identifying the best treatment from the available therapeutic options, effectiveness, safety, and allowing as much as possible natural conception.

Keywords: couple subfertility; epididymitis; male factor infertility; semen quality; varicocele

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