Epididymitis is an infection/inflammation of the tube (epididymis) at the back of the testicle that carries and stores sperm as it matures. Epididymitis is most common in young men but can occur in men of any age. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection, including sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, however, inflammation and injury may also cause epididymitis to occur. Once epididymitis is recognized and diagnosed, treatment can be started, and it is usually a curable condition.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Epididymitis:
- Swollen, red or warm scrotum
- Testicular pain and tenderness, often unliteral, lump on testicle
- Pain or urgency to urinate, painful ejaculation, penile discharge
- Enlarged lymph nodes in groin
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody semen
How is Epididymitis diagnosed?
Diagnosis is often based simply on the history and physical examination taken and performed by your clinician. There are times, however, when an ultrasound study of the scrotal contents can be ordered to confirm diagnosis and rule out other more serious issues such as testicular torsion and testicular mass.
What are the complications of Epididymitis?
Complications of epididymitis are not common since with treatment it is generally curable. However, if left untreated, infection can spread and lead to damage of the reproductive organs, possibly leaving to infertility.
How is Epididymitis treated?
Treatment of Epididymitis is targeted at the cause of the condition.
When infectious, antibiotics are the treatment of choice. In most sexually active young men, STDs are considered the most likely agents involved and thus antibiotics are tailored towards treating those infectious agents. Completing the entire course of medication is very important to ensure complete eradication of the bacteria from the epididymitis. Notifying partners and making sure partners are told to receive treatment is a vital step as well to ensure that there is not reinfection once you become sexually active again. You should not begin to have sex again for at least 7 days after treatment or as directed by your clinician.
How do I prevent Epididymitis?
Prevention is best achieved by avoiding contact with sexually transmitted infections (STDs). If one is sexually active, limiting the number of partners and exposures, and using a condom with all sexual encounters will lower the chance of exposure and thus lower the risk of developing Epididymitis.
In an emergency go to Mount Nittany Medical Center or call 911 for an ambulance.
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This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. This information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional. 03/10/21