EPIDIDYMITIS

Definition

An inflammation and infection of the epididymis, an oblong structure attached to the upper part of each testis.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Enlarged, hardened, painful testicle.
  • Fever.
  • Rapid onset of pain, heat and swelling at the back of one testicle (sometimes both).
  • Tender scrotal contents.
  • Tenderness of the second testicle (sometimes).
  • Acute urethritis causing burning on urination (often).

Causes

Usually a complication of a bacterial infection elsewhere in the body, such as gonococcal infection of the urethra; prostate infection; or bladder or kidney infection. Epididymitis may also complicate an infection of the scrotum or be caused by scrotal injury.

Treatment

Laboratory studies, such as urinalysis and culture of prostate secretions, to identify the germ responsible.  The goal of treatment is to combat infection and reduce pain and swelling. Treatment can usually be done at home. Support the weight of the scrotum and tender testicles.
Roll a soft bath towel and place it between the legs under the inflamed area.
Apply an ice bag to the inflamed parts to help reduce swelling and relieve pain. Don't use heat. Wear an athletic supporter or two pairs of athletic briefs when you resume normal activity.
An exploratory operation may be necessary to make a firm diagnosis and save the testicle (rare).
Surgical procedure may be necessary for severe cases not responding to antibiotics.

Medications

Antibiotics to fight infection. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen for mild pain; or stronger pain drugs can be prescribed for moderate to severe pain. Stool softeners.

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