Epididymitis is the inflammation of the epididymis, a coiled tube located at the back of the testicle responsible for storing and transporting sperm. This condition can affect males of any age.
The primary cause of epididymitis is typically a bacterial infection, with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea or chlamydia being common culprits. In some cases, inflammation can also spread to the testicle, resulting in a condition known as epididymo–orchitis.
The standard treatment for epididymitis involves the administration of antibiotics along with various measures aimed at alleviating discomfort and managing symptoms.
Epididymitis symptoms could include:
- Pain when urinating
- A pressing or regular urge to urinate.
- A scrotum that is bloated, discolored, or heated.
- Testicular discomfort and tenderness, typically on one side, that frequently develops gradually.
- Lower abdominal or pelvic pain or discomfort
- The semen appears to have blood.
- Penile discharge
Epididymitis persisting for more than six weeks, or recurring episodes are classified as chronic. Symptoms of chronic epididymitis may develop gradually, and in some cases, the root cause cannot be identified.
There are several causes of epididymitis.
- Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI). The most frequent causes of epididymitis in young, sexually active men are gonorrhea and chlamydia.
- Urine in the epididymis. The epididymis becomes irritated chemically when urine runs backward into it, leading to this disease. It might be the result of straining or hard lifting.
- Obstruction in the urethra, the channel that removes urine from the body.
- Trauma. An epididymitis injury to the groin can occur.
- Tuberculosis. Rarely, Tuberculosis infection can lead to epididymitis.
- Using a catheter, a tube that drains your bladder.
- Other infections. The epididymis may become infected with bacteria from a prostate or urinary tract infection. Additionally, viral diseases like the mumps virus can cause epididymitis.
You are more likely to contract sexually transmitted epididymitis if you engage in certain sexual behaviors that can cause Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), such as:
- Anal sex
- Having STI in the past
- Having sex with someone who has a STI
- Unprotected sex
The following are risk factors for non–sexually transmitted epididymitis:
- A deviation from the urinary tract’s usual anatomy
- Undergoing a medical operation that affects the urinary tract, such as placing a catheter or scope inside the penis.
- Other medical diseases, such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), that weaken the immune system.
- Having an infection of the prostate or the urinary tract
- Prostate enlargement, which raises the risk of epididymitis and bladder infections.
- A penis that isn’t circumcised