What is Epididymitis?
Epididymitis is a swelling of the coiled tube, called the epididymis, at the back of the testicle. The epididymis carries sperm and stores it. Males of any age may get epididymitis. Epididymitis mostly occurs because of bacterial infection, including sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia or gonorrhea. From time to time, a testicle may also become inflamed, a condition called epididymal-orchitis. Epididymitis is normally handled with antibiotics and measures are taken to reduce irritation.
What are the symptoms of Epididymitis?
Symptoms of epididymitis might include:
- A warm scrotum, discolored or swollen
- Tenderness and Testicle pain, normally on one side, that frequently comes on slowly
- Pain when you pass urine
- An frequent or urgent need to urinate
- Fluid discharge from the penis
- Discomfort or pain in the pelvic area or lower abdomen
- Blood in the semen
What are the Causes of Epididymitis?
The causes of Epididymitis include:
STIs: Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the utmost common causes of epididymitis in young, sexually active males.
Other infections: Bacteria from a prostate infection or urinary tract may extend from the infected site to the epididymis. Also, viral infections, like the mumps virus, might result in epididymitis.
Urine in the epididymis: This situation happens when urine flows backward into the epididymis, causing chemical irritation. It might be the result of straining or heavy lifting.
Trauma: A groin injury might cause epididymitis.
Tuberculosis: Epididymitis might be caused by Tuberculosis infection also but it’s quite rare
What are the Risk factors of Epididymitis?
The risk factors of epididymitis include.
- A history of STIs
- Anal sex
- Sex without a condom
- Sex with a partner who has an STI
- Urinary tract infection or having a prostate
- Having a medical procedure done that affects the urinary tract, like scope into the penis or insertion of a urinary catheter
- An uncircumcised penis
- A difference in the typical anatomy of the urinary tract
- Prostate enlargement, which may increase the risk of epididymitis and bladder infections
- Other health situations that cause a weakened immune system, like HIV
What are the Complications of Epididymitis?
Complications of epididymitis may include:
- Decreased fertility but it’s rare
- Epididymo-orchitis, if the condition extends from the epididymis to a testicle
- Collection of fluid around the testicle, known as hydrocele
- You may get a pus-filled infection in the scrotum called an abscess,
How Epididymitis is Diagnosed?
A doctor will first discuss about your symptoms and will check your groin that includes checking for augmented lymph nodes along with an enlarged testicle on the area that is affected. Your doctor also may do a rectal exam to check for prostate tenderness and growth or tenderness.
Tests to diagnose epididymitis are:
STI screening: In this test a thin swab will be inserted in the end of your penis to collect the sample of any discharge you might have. Then this sample is sent into the lab to detect symptoms of gonorrhea and chlamydia.
Urine and blood tests: Your urine and blood samples will to send to lab for further tests.
Ultrasound: Here sound waves are uses to produce images of your testicles to detect if you are developing testicular torsion or not. Testicular torsion is condition where the twisting of the testicle can block blood flow. If blood flow is higher than usual, then you might have epididymitis.
What are the Treatment Options Available for Epididymitis?
Treatment for epididymitis generally includes comfort measures and antibiotics. In some cases, surgery also might be needed.
Antibiotics: Antibiotics are required to cure epididymo-orchitis and bacterial epididymitis — epididymitis infection that extended to a testicle. If the bacterial infection occurred because of an STI, then your sex partners are also required to go for treatment. Take all of the antibiotic medicine prescribed by your doctor, even if your symptoms clear up earlier. This might help to make sure that the infection faded away.
Comfort Measure: You shall begin to feel better after taking antibiotics for 2 to 3 days, but sometimes it might take many weeks for swelling and pain to be cured. Takng rest, putting ice packs, giving support to the scrotum with an athletic supporter and also taking pain medicine might help you to feel comfortable.
Surgery: If an abscess has been created, you may need to have a surgery to drain take them it. In a few cases, all or some parts of the epididymis requires to be get rid of surgically. This surgery is known as epididymectomy. Surgical repair might be needed when underlying conditions with the anatomy of the urinary tract take to epididymitis.
Living with Epididymitis?
Along with the physical problems there are lots of stigma’s attached with epididymitis which can create mental issues. It’s very important to give yourself confidence to cope with the problems. Sharing your feelings with close friends and family members might make you feel better. Follow the instructions of your doctor properly as this condition is curable and after that you will be able to lead a normal life.
Whom to Consult?
If you experience scrotal pain, discharge from your penis, pain while urinating, or swelling then don’t ignore it as it may be because of various conditions. Immediately consult a doctor if you notice these signs and symptoms because a few of them may need treatment swiftly to avert permanent damage. Also, if there is severe pain in the scrotum, go for emergency treatment.