Learn the Signs and Symptoms of Epididymitis

Epididymitis is a condition that occurs when the epididymis (coiled tubes), located at the back of the testicles, become inflamed. These tubes are responsible for carrying the stored sperm. While this condition can occur in all men, males between the ages of 20 and 39 have an increased risk for the inflammation. The most common symptoms of epididymitis include pain and swelling of the testicles.

Causes of Epididymitis

Most often, epididymitis is the result of a bacterial infection or sexually transmitted disease, such as gonorrhea. Chlamydia is another common sexually transmitted disease responsible for causing this inflammation, making epididymitis very common in young, sexually active men. Other infections can cause the inflammation as well, including urinary and prostate infections and non-sexually transmitted bacterial infections. Certain heart medications are known to cause epididymitis as well as tuberculosis. In some cases, urine enters the epididymis, causing the inflammation.

Symptoms and Signs of Epididymitis

One of the most common symptoms of epididymitis involves the swelling of the scrotum, which is often red, warm and tender. The pain and swelling can occur on one side or on both and typically worsens during a bowel movement. Intercourse and ejaculation often become painful, as well as urinating with an increased need to urinate.

Other common symptoms of this condition involve fever and chills, discharge from the penis and blood in semen. The testicle that is inflamed can develop a lump and pain or discomfort in the lower abdomen and pelvic region can be experienced also. It's not unusual for the lymph nodes in the groin to become enlarged.

In chronic cases of epididymitis, symptoms often develop quickly and subside over the next couple of days without the need for treatment. However, it’s not uncommon for the pain and inflammation to reoccur. In cases of chronic epididymitis, the exact cause of the inflammation is often unknown.

Complications of Epididymitis

When left untreated, certain complications can arise with epididymitis, which can include a scrotal abscess. A scrotal abscess occurs when tissue becomes infected and fills with pus. Acute epididymitis can lead to chronic epididymitis when left untreated. The inflamed testicle can begin to shrink, known as atrophy. In rare cases, infertility can occur as well as decreased fertility. In some cases, epididymitis can progress to include epididymo-orchitis. This occurs when the infection spreads from the epididymis to the testicles.

If you suspect you may have epididymitis, or experience testicular pain or swelling, seek medical attention immediately to ensure more serious complications are not occurring. In some cases, testicular pain and swelling can lead to permanent damage if prompt treatment isn’t sought. Therefore, to ensue a serious underlying condition or injury isn’t the cause of the pain, seek medical attention anytime testicular pain or swelling is experienced.

References:

"Epididymitis Symptoms" MayoClinic

"Epididymitis" HealthScout

"Epididymitis" EMedicine