• Epididymitis



    Acute epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis. This is a structure that surrounds and attaches to each testicle. It is shaped like a tube. The epididymis helps transport and store sperm cells.
    Chronic epididymitis causes discomfort or pain in the epididymis. It can last for 3 months or longer. This type is less common.
    The Epididymis
    si2188 testicle
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    This condition is most often caused by a bacterial infection. For example:
    Other causes include:
    • Injury
    • Viral infections, such as mumps
    • Genital abnormalities
    • Treatment with amiodarone, a heart rhythm drug
    • Chemotherapy to treat bladder cancer
    • Vasectomy

    Risk Factors

    Only men can develop this condition. It affects men age 15-30 with sexually transmitted bacteria begin a common cause. It also affects men over 60 with urinary tract infections being a common cause.
    Other factors that increase the risk of epididymitis include:
    • Infection of the genitourinary tract—urethra, bladder, kidney, prostate, or testicle
    • Narrowing of the urethra
    • Use of a urethral catheter
    • Infrequent emptying of the bladder
    • Recent surgery or instrumentation of the genitourinary tract—especially prostate removal
    • Birth defects of the genitourinary tract
    • Unprotected sex
    • Disease that affects the immune system
    Children and newborns can get epididymitis.


    Symptoms usually develop within 1 day. These include:
    • Pain in the testicles
    • Sudden redness or swelling of the scrotum
    • Hardness, a lump, and/or soreness in the affected testicle
    • Tenderness in the unaffected testicle
    • Groin pain
    • Chills
    • Fever
    • Inflammation of the urethra
    • Pain during intercourse or ejaculation
    • Pain and/or burning during urination
    • Increased pain while having a bowel movement
    • Lower abdominal discomfort
    • Discharge from the penis


    You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
    Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with:
    • Urinalysis
    • Urine culture
    • Culture or other test of discharge from penis
    • Blood tests
    Images may be taken of your scrotum. This can be done with ultrasound.


    Treatment is essential to prevent the infection from worsening. Treatment may include:
    • Bed rest—This keeps the testicles from moving and promotes healing. You may need bed rest until the swelling goes away.
    • Antibiotics—You will be given antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection. Many cases of epididymitis are caused by sexually transmitted bacteria. Chlamydia is one of the most common. If you have an STD , your partner(s) will also need treatment.
    • Oral anti-inflammatory medication—This includes drugs like ibuprofen to help reduce swelling.
    • Scrotal elevation and support—You may need to wear an athletic supporter for several weeks.
    • Warm baths—Taking baths can ease the pain and help relieve swelling.
    • Surgery—This may be needed in severe cases that keep coming back.


    The following steps can help decrease your risk:
    • Practice safe sex. Protect yourself from STDs by using condoms .
    • Empty your bladder as soon as you feel the need.


    National Kidney Foundation http://www.kidney.org

    Urology Care Foundation http://www.urologyhealth.org


    Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

    The Kidney Foundation of Canada http://www.kidney.ca


    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guide: 2006. MMWR. 2006;55. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2006/rr5511.pdf. Accessed August 31, 2015.

    Hori S, Sengupta A, et al. Long-term outcome of epididymectomy for the management of chronic epididymal pain. J Urol. 2009 Oct;182(4):1407-1412.

    Santillanes G, Gausche-Hill M, et al. Are antibiotics necessary for pediatric epididymitis? Pediatr Emerg Care. 2011 Feb 19.

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