What is epididymitis?
The Reference epididymis Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window is a long, tightly coiled tube that lies above and behind each testicle. It collects and stores maturing sperm made by the testicles prior to ejaculation. Inflammation and infection of the epididymis is called Reference epididymitis Opens New Window.
What causes epididymitis?
The causes of epididymitis vary depending on your age and behavior. In children it is most commonly associated with Reference urinary tract infections Opens New Window. In young, sexually active men, it is often linked to Reference sexually transmitted infection Opens New Window. And in older men it is often caused by enlargement of the Reference prostate gland Opens New Window. Reference Bacterial infections Opens New Window, possibly spread from the rectal area or following a urological procedure, also may cause epididymitis. And an injury to the groin may cause epididymitis.
What are the symptoms?
Pain, tenderness, and swelling in the Reference scrotum Opens New Window (epididymides or testicles) that gradually get worse are the most common symptoms of epididymitis. Other symptoms may include fever and chills, frequent or painful urination, or a discharge from the penis.
How is epididymitis diagnosed?
Epididymitis is diagnosed using a physical exam and a medical history. A Reference culture Opens New Window of discharge from the penis is done to check for a bacterial infection, such as a sexually transmitted infection. And a Reference urinalysis Opens New Window and urine culture are done to check for a Reference urinary tract infection Opens New Window. You may also have a blood test to check for an elevated Reference white cell count Opens New Window and an Reference ultrasound Opens New Window or nuclear medicine test to make sure that you do not have Reference torsion of the testicle Opens New Window, an emergency condition that causes loss of blood flow to the testicles and requires urgent surgical treatment. These tests are also used to make sure that you do not have a tumor.
How is it treated?
Antibiotics are used to treat Reference epididymitis Opens New Window. Supportive measures, such as bed rest with elevation of the hips and anti-inflammatory medicines (such as ibuprofen or ketoprofen), may help relieve discomfort caused by epididymitis.
If you have symptoms of epididymitis, reduce the risk of spreading a possible infection to your partner by avoiding sexual intercourse until you can be examined by your doctor. It is important for sex partners to be evaluated and treated for a possible infection.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference September 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Christopher G. Wood, MD, FACS - Urology, Oncology