Epididymitis

What is Epididymitis?

It is the inflammation of the epididymis, a tubular structure located at the back of the testicles which stores and transports sperm from the testicle to the seminal vesicles.

Symptoms

Epididymitis can be either acute, meaning it lasts for six weeks or less, or chronic, which lasts for six weeks or more. Symptoms for acute epididymitis often come on quickly and may be associated with sudden inflammation, swelling and pain. Acute epididymitis may also include inflammation of the teste.

Chronic epididymitis develops more slowly and is typically accompanied by a dull, achy pain.

Symptoms to watch out for include low-grade fever, enlarged lymph nodes in the groin, urgent or frequent urination, abnormal discharge from the penis, or blood in the semen.

Epididymitis is also typically accompanied by pain and/or pressure in the pelvic area and testicles during sexual intercourse, urination or bowel movements. Also watch out for redness, tenderness or warmth in the scrotum.

Causes

It is typically caused by a bacterial infection or a sexually transmitted infection. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are the most common causes of sexually transmitted epididymitis as they cause an infection in the urethra which can sometimes travel down the vas deferens to the epididymis or testes and cause infection.

Urinary tract or prostate infections, tuberculosis, and other non-sexually transmitted diseases can similarly travel from the urethra to the epididymis causing epididymitis.

Treatments

Treatment for epididymitis is dependent on the underlying infection. Treatment for a bacterial infection often includes medication such as antibiotics, pain medication, and anti-inflammatory medication.

It can often take a week to several weeks-long course of antibiotics to eliminate the infection. It is important to complete the entire course of antibiotics.

Occasionally, complications with more severe epididymitis arise which can include puss-filled infections or abscesses in the scrotum.

If no other treatments prove successful, surgery may become an option. In these circumstances, all or part of the epididymis and, in rare cases, the testicle may be removed and any physical defects that may be causing the infection will be corrected.

Please call our urologist to schedule an appointment so we can discuss the available treatment options.

 

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