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Andrologia. 2002 Dec;34(6):349-55.

Genital heat stress in men of barren couples: a prospective evaluation by means of a questionnaire.

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Centre of Dermatology and Andrology, Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany.


Exposure to genital heat stress among men of barren couples was evaluated in a prospective study. Five hundred and forty-two consecutive patients referred for andrological examination were asked to complete a specific questionnaire at their first visit. For 449 patients who answered all questions, the individual score values could be calculated by scoring each answer with points. Patients with 'idiopathic' oligoasthenoteratozoospermia had significantly higher score values when compared with men showing normozoospermia (P < 0.01), 'symptomatic' oligoasthenoteratozoospermia as a result of defined andrological disorders (P < 0.01), cryptozoospermia (P < 0.01) or other pathological semen profiles (P < 0.05). These data support the hypothesis that patients with 'idiopathic' oligoasthenoteratozoospermia are more exposed to genital heat stress than normozoospermic men. Moreover, in patients with a varicocele impairment semen quality was associated with significantly higher score values compared with the subgroup of men with normal semen profiles (P < 0.05). In contrast, the score values did not significantly differ between equivalent subgroups of men with a history of a retractile testis. Our observations indicate that the questionnaire used in the present study allows an integrative assessment of genital heat stress, which is superior to single factor analysis. Notably, the group of men with 'idiopathic' oligoasthenoteratozoospermia showed the highest mean score values for 10 of the 18 questions compared with the other groups. Prolonged sitting in a vehicle represented the only single factor with significantly different score values in patients with 'idiopathic' oligoasthenoteratozoospermia and those with normozoospermia (P < 0.05).

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