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What is epididymo-orchitis?

Epididymo-orchitis is a condition where there is inflammation of your epididymis and testicle. The epididymis is a bundle of very small tubes found next to each testicle. The epididymis is where sperm from each testicle passes before it goes out of the penis. Epididymo-orchitis usually affects the epididymis and testicle on one side of the scrotum, but it may affect both sides.

What causes epididymo-orchitis?

  • Infections: Urinary tract infections or prostate infections may spread to the epididymis and testicles. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) may also cause epididymo-orchitis. The virus that causes mumps may also infect your testicles and cause symptoms.
  • Injuries: Trauma to or near the lower urinary tract may let germs or other materials into your body. A urinary catheter may also cause inflammation and swelling.

What are the signs and symptoms of epididymo-orchitis?

  • Pain, swelling, tenderness, and redness in your scrotum, on one or both sides
  • Lump or mass in your testicle
  • Pain when you pass urine
  • Discharge coming from your penis
  • Fever

How is epididymo-orchitis diagnosed?

Your caregiver will examine your penis and scrotum. He may also check your prostate by inserting a gloved finger into your anus. He may ask about other health conditions you may have. Tell him how long you have had symptoms. Tell him about injuries, trauma, or treatments you have had. He may ask about your sexual partner to see if you are at risk for an STI. You may also need the following:

  • Lab tests: Blood and urine tests may be done to check for infection. If you have discharge, a small amount of this fluid will be collected and sent to a lab for testing.
  • Ultrasound: An ultrasound uses sound waves to show pictures of your scrotum on a monitor. An ultrasound may show bleeding, lumps, or problems with blood flow.

How is epididymo-orchitis treated?

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given if epididymo-orchitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Take them as directed.
  • NSAIDs: These medicines decrease swelling, pain, and fever. NSAIDs are available without a doctor's order. Ask your caregiver which medicine is right for you and how much to take. Take as directed. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems if not taken correctly.
  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.

What are the risks of epididymo-orchitis?

If your condition is not treated, the production of your sperm may decrease. The decreased amounts of sperm may affect your ability to father a child. Inflammation in the epididymis and testicle may cause scarring and change your testicle's size and shape.

How can I manage or prevent epididymo-orchitis?

  • Ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your swollen testicle or scrotum for 15 to 20 minutes every hour as directed.
  • Rest: Rest or decreased activity may help decrease your pain. It may also help you heal faster. Return to normal activities as directed.
  • Safe sex: Use a latex condom during oral, vaginal, or anal sex. Do not have sex with someone who has an STI. If you have an infection, let your sexual partner know so they can be checked for an STI and treated if needed. Do not have sex while you or your partner is being treated for an STI, or until your primary healthcare provider says that it is okay.
  • Scrotal support: You may be told to put a pillow or rolled up towel under your scrotum to elevate your scrotum when you sit or lie down. This may help reduce your pain. An athletic supporter may make you more comfortable when you stand.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills or feel weak and achy.
  • Your pain is not relieved by bed rest, applying cold, or scrotal support.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

When should I seek immediate care?

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have an area of redness, swelling, and increased pain in your scrotum.
  • You develop severe pain in your testicle.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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