Epididymitis is a type of inflammatory condition that affects the epididymis, a tube within the male body that is attached to the testicles and is responsible for holding semen. The condition is most common among males between the ages of 19 and 35 years old, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Men with the condition often develop redness or tenderness in their testicles, painful sensations during urination or sex, blood in their semen, uncomfortable or painful feelings within their pelvic or groin areas, an increased need to urinate, testicle lumps or irregular discharges from their penises. It is important for men to seek treatment for the condition because epididymitis can lead to a decrease in the size of their testicles or abscesses on their scrotums. Men can develop chronic or reoccurring forms of epididymitis if they do not get treatment for the causes of epididymitis.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Men who develop sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia or gonorrhea, have an increased risk of getting epididymitis. When men develop STDs, the bacteria or virus responsible for the STDs can cause them to develop other infections and inflammatory conditions such as epididymitis. Risk factors for epididymitis and STDs include having sexual intercourse with multiple partners or not using condoms during sex. Men often develop epididymitis several months after they originally get STDs, according to Aetna InteliHealth. Sometimes they develop the condition as a result of anal intercourse because bacteria are able to travel from their anus to their epididymes.
Bacterial and Viral Infections
Other bacterial and viral infections, especially those that develop in the prostate or bladder, can be responsible for epididymitis. Prostate and bladder infections in male children and adults are often caused by bacteria, which often infect these structures and spread to the epididymis. Men develop prostate and bladder infections when bacteria in their urine are not eliminated from their bodies and start to spread. Men that use catheters to help them to urinate often develop epididymitis and related types of infections such as urinary tract infections.
Other common causes of epididymitis include the use of amiodarone, a medication prescribed to patients with problems with erratic heartbeats, pressure on the epididymes as a result of lifting heavy objects and tuberculosis, a lung disease caused by a bacterial infection. Men that have recently gotten surgery or who are not circumcised are also at risk of developing bacterial or viral infections that could lead to epididymitis.
Prognosis and Treatment
The causes of epididymitis, especially STDs and bacterial infections, can usually be treated with antibiotics. Sometimes doctors prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or give patients steroid shots to help reduce the swelling in the epididymis. Males can take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or put ice packs on their scrotums or other infected areas to help relieve their pain. Men usually do not suffer permanent damage, such as problems with their reproductive systems or urinary tract infections, as a result of epididymitis.
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