Epididymitis is often caused by an infection. It can also be caused by an injury. Sometimes the cause is not known.

Risk Factors

Epididymitis is more common in men from 20 to 30 years old. However, it can affect males of any age.

Things that may raise the risk are:

  • Having sex, especially anal sex
  • Urinary tract infections
  • STIs , such as chlamydia and gonorrhea
  • Prostate problems or procedures
  • Sitting or cycling for a long time
  • Trauma
  • Infections like tuberculosis and mumps
  • Amiodarone—a heart rhythm drug



Symptoms of epididymitis depend on the cause. They may be:

  • Fever or chills
  • Pain:
    • In one or both testes
    • That may spread to the groin
    • While urinating (peeing)
    • During sex or ejaculation
  • Hardness or a lump in the testicle
  • Sudden redness or swelling of the scrotum
  • Discharge from the penis
  • Lower belly discomfort

Symptoms of chronic epididymitis may start gradually.


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may suspect epididymitis based on the exam. Tests may be done to look for the cause. They may include:

  • Urine tests and culture
  • Urethral swab
  • Blood and tissue tests
  • Testicular ultrasound



Acute epididymitis goes away with treatment. If untreated, it may become long term (chronic). If chronic, symptoms may come and go, even with treatment.

The goal is to prevent damage to the testicle. The type of treatment depends on the cause. Options include:

  • Rest for 1 to 2 days
  • An athletic supporter—to lift and support the scrotum
  • Medicines, such as:
    • Antibiotics—for infections
    • NSAIDS—to ease swelling and pain

If an STI is diagnosed, sexual partner(s) will need to be told and treated.

Hospital care may be needed for severe symptoms or infection. Surgery may be needed for severe, chronic epididymitis.


To reduce the risk of epididymitis, practice safe sex.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.