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Epididymitis refers to the inflammation of the epididymis, a tube located at the rear of the testicle responsible for transporting sperm. This inflammation can result in severe pain in the testicle. While it can affect individuals of any age, it typically occurs more frequently among those aged 14 to 35.



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What is Epididymitis?

Epididymitis refers to the inflammation of the epididymis, a convoluted tube situated behind the testicle responsible for storing and transporting sperm. Such inflammation often cause severe testicular pain.

What’s the difference between epididymitis and orchitis?

Epididymitis involves inflammation of the tube behind the testicle, whereas orchitis involves swelling of the testicle itself. Occasionally, both conditions manifest simultaneously, known as epididymo-orchitis.

Who experiences epididymitis?

Epididymitis can occur at any stage of life, but it predominantly affects individuals aged 14 to 35. Both men and those assigned male at birth can experience epididymitis.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of epididymitis?
Symptoms of epididymitis can encompass:

- Discomfort in the scrotum, occasionally radiating to the surrounding groin area.
- Enlargement and reddening of the testicle.
- Presence of blood in semen.
- Fever and shivering.
- Painful urination (dysuria).

What causes epididymitis?
The primary cause of epididymitis is typically an infection, most commonly by the bacterium E. coli. Additionally, infections from Mycoplasma or Chlamydia, often transmitted sexually, can also provoke the condition.

In rarer instances, epididymitis can stem from viral infections like mumps or, exceptionally, tuberculosis.

Epididymitis may also occur due to the reflux of urine into the epididymis, which can be triggered by activities such as heavy lifting. Other contributing factors include:

- Urethral blockage
- Inflammation or infection of the prostate gland
- Catheterization
- Prior surgical procedures on the prostate, urethra, or bladder
- Traumatic injury to the groin area

Is it possible to develop epididymitis without contracting an STD?
Yes. Epididymitis can be caused by non-sexually transmitted infections. For instance, infections originating from the prostate or urinary tract can extend to the epididymis.

Can epididymitis be passed through sexual contact?
Yes, epididymitis can be transmitted through sexual contact. Although not classified as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) itself, it frequently occurs as a symptom of various STDs, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea.

Diagnosis and Tests

How do our Andrologist diagnose epididymitis?
Andrologists diagnose epididymitis by conducting a physical examination of the scrotum to identify any tender areas or lumps. Additionally, they might request a urinalysis to detect bacteria in the urine. In certain instances, ultrasound imaging of the scrotum may be employed for diagnostic purposes.

Management and Treatment

What are the treatments for epididymitis?
Epididymitis is typically treated with antibiotics. Common medications for this condition include doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, levofloxacin, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Antibiotics are generally prescribed for one to two weeks.

In addition to antibiotic therapy, individuals with epididymitis can alleviate their symptoms by:


  • Resting.

  • Elevating the scrotum.

  • Applying ice packs to the affected area.

  • Staying hydrated.

  • Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief.

What complications can arise from epididymitis?

If left untreated, it may lead to complications like the formation of an abscess (a sac filled with pus) in the scrotum, potentially causing the skin to break open due to swelling and infection. Occasionally, epididymitis can also pose risks to fertility. However, prompt diagnosis and treatment are key to averting these potential complications.

Can epididymitis resolve on its own?
With appropriate treatment, epididymitis can resolve. Seeking treatment promptly is crucial to prevent potential complications.

What are the potential consequences if epididymitis if left untreated?

If epididymitis remains untreated, it can result in significant complications. Neglected, it may progress to chronic epididymitis, potentially leading to the formation of an abscess on the scrotum or damaging the epididymis, leading to infertility. Moreover, in certain instances, the infection may spread to other areas of the body.

Can ejaculation worsen the pain of epididymitis?
Although ejaculation itself doesn't worsen an epididymitis infection, it may intensify discomfort for certain individuals. It's advisable to refrain from masturbation until receiving treatment, and it's crucial not to engage in sexual activity until receiving clearance from a Andrologist.


What steps can I take to lower my chances of developing epididymitis?
To decrease your risk of epididymitis, consider the following:

  • Practice safe sex by consistently using condoms.

  • Refrain from heavy lifting or intense physical exertion.

  • Limit prolonged periods of sitting.

When should I see a doctor?

If you notice any symptoms of epididymitis, reach out to Dr. Paul Naveen promptly. If they diagnose your infection as stemming from a sexually transmitted infection, it's crucial to inform recent sexual partners, enabling them to seek examination and treatment.

A Message from NU Urology and Andrology Clinics

Epididymitis refers to the inflammation of the epididymis, a duct situated at the rear of the testicle responsible for transporting sperm. This condition can cause significant discomfort and disrupt daily activities. However, following appropriate treatment, the infection can be resolved, and symptoms alleviated. Adhering strictly to prescribed medications and following our Andrologist's advice is crucial for a smooth and effective recovery process.

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