Learn Which Antibiotics for Epididymitis Work Best

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What Is Epididymitis?

An inflammation of the epididymis, which is the tube behind the testicle where sperm is stored and transported, is called epididymitis. The most common symptoms are pain and swelling from a bacterial infection or an STD (sexually transmitted disease). The Mayo Clinic reports the most common ages for men to experience epididymitis is between 20 and 39. Possible symptoms include a tender scrotum, painful urination, testicle lump, penial discharge and blood in the semen. Antibiotic therapy is necessary to treat the infection. The entire cycle of antibiotics for epididymitis should be taken as prescribed. Stopping the antibiotic too soon allows the bacteria to grow and develop an intolerance to treatment.


Azithromycin, sold under the brand names of Zithromax and Zmax, is used to treat bacterial infections, such as epididymitis. Azithromycin side effects can include intestinal symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhea, or a mild skin rash may appear. Notify your doctor if these side effects do not go away or become severe. Serious side effects that require immediate notification include heart rhythm irregularities; swelling of the extremities, eyes, face, lips or tongue; itching; difficulty breathing; and yellowing of the skin. Before taking azithromycin, make sure your doctor knows if you have an irregular heartbeat, cystic fibrosis or kidney disease. Avoid taking antacids within 2 hours before and 4 hours following azithromycin.


Co-trimoxazole, a combination sulfa drug containing sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim, destroys bacteria common to urinary tract infections. Mild side effects include nausea, vomiting and the loss of appetite. For symptoms such as itching, mouth sores, aching joints, fever, skin rash, yellowing of the skin or sore throat, call your doctor immediately. Before taking co-trimoxazole, tell your doctor if you have asthma, kidney disease or severe allergies, or if you are taking any other prescription medications, such as methotrexate, vitamins, warfarin, and phenytoin.


Ciprofloxacin, an antibiotic in the fluoroquinolone group, is used for many types of infections, including epididymitis. Serious side effects that require immediate medical attention include difficulty breathing, hives, and swelling of the throat and face. Notify your doctor if you have dizziness, sudden pain near your joints, convulsions, numbness, skin rash or fast, pounding heartbeat. You should not take ciprofloxacin if you have liver or kidney disease, joint problems, seizures or myasthenia gravis. Vitamin or mineral supplements and some medications can make ciprofloxacin less effective.

Other Antibiotics

MedicineNet, in defining epididymitis, states that both doxycycline and ceftriaxone are used, if STDs are suspected, and ofloxacin may be used if the source is considered bowel microbes. Possible doxycycline side effects include fast heart rate, watery or bloody diarrhea, dizziness, blurred vision, jaundice, facial swelling and a skin rash that blisters and peels. Before taking doxycycline, tell your doctor if you have kidney or liver disease, or asthma.

Possible side effects of ceftriaxone include jaundice, confusion, watery or bloody diarrhea, white sores in the mouth, headache, nausea, dizziness, severe stomach pain, and decrease in urination. You may be unable to take ceftriaxone if you have kidney or liver disease, colitis, other stomach or intestinal disorders, or gallbladder problems.

Before taking ofloxacin, your doctor needs to know if you have myasthenia gravis, kidney or liver disease, diabetes, low potassium, epilepsy, joint problems or any reaction to an antibiotic. Possible side effects include seizure, dizziness, nausea, muscle or joint pain, restlessness, numbness or tingling in the extremities, and easy bruising.


Mayo Clinic: Epididymitis https://www.mayoclinic.com/health/epididymitis/DS00603

MedicineNet: Definition of Epididymitis https://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=3281