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Epididymitis and Epididymo-orchitis

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Medically Reviewed Jan 2022 | Modified Sep 2022
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The testicles are the pair of organs that sit in the sac below a man's penis. The epididymis is the coiled tube on top of each testicle where sperm are moved from the testicle and stored.

The Epididymis
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What are epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis?

Epididymitis is painful inflammation of the epididymis.

Epididymo-orchitis is painful inflammation of both the epididymis and testicle.

  • Epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis usually start from a bacterial infection

  • Doctors treat these disorders with antibiotics

Male Reproductive Organs

Male Reproductive Organs

What causes epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis?

Epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis are usually caused by a bacterial infection. The infection can be caused by:

Sometimes, you can get epididymitis or epididymo-orchitis without having an infection. Doctors think this may be caused by some urine flowing backward and causing irritation.

What are the symptoms of epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis?

The symptoms of epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis are:

  • Swelling and tenderness near one of the testicles

  • Pain, which can be constant and severe

  • Sometimes, feeling sick and throwing up

  • Sometimes, fever

Pain from epididymitis usually comes on gradually. Pain from epididymo-orchitis usually comes on more rapidly.

If you have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), you may also have other symptoms, such as a discharge (clear, yellow, or green fluid coming out of your penis).

Epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis usually get better fast with treatment. But sometimes inflammation can happen again or last several weeks (chronic epididymitis).

How can doctors tell if I have epididymitis or epididymo-orchitis?

Doctors suspect epididymitis or epididymo-orchitis based on a physical examination. They'll usually also do:

How do doctors treat epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis?

Doctors will have you:

  • Take antibiotics

  • Take pain medicine

  • Rest as much as needed

  • Use ice packs on the painful area

  • Wear a jockstrap (athletic supporter) to support your testicles

If the infection gets worse and you have an abscess (collection of pus), your doctor will do surgery to drain the pus.

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: VIEW PROFESSIONAL VERSION
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