Epididymitis is inflammation of the epididymis. The epididymis is a tiny tubule on the back of the testicle. It stores sperm and makes a path for sperm to pass out of the body.
Epididymitis may be:
- Acute—short term, when treated
- Chronic—lasts longer than 6 weeks, or keeps coming back (less common)
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This condition 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
- Infections like tuberculosis and mumps
- Amiodarone—a heart rhythm drug
Symptoms depend on the cause. They may be:
- Fever or chills
- In one or both testes
- That may spread to the groin
- While urinating
- 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.
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.
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.
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National Kidney Foundation https://www.kidney.org
Urology Care Foundation http://www.urologyhealth.org
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
The Kidney Foundation of Canada https://www.kidney.ca
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