Epididymitis is an infection or inflammation of the epididymis. The epididymis is a tube at the upper part of each testicle that carries sperm to the tube called the vas deferens, which takes the sperm out. Epididymitis is curable with treatment.
The cause is often unknown. Some causes may include:
- The cause is usually a bacterial infection or long-term pressure on the epididymis.
- Bacteria from a urinary tract or prostate infection can spread to the testicles.
- In sexually active men, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) is often the cause.
- Pressure epididymitis occurs after sitting too long, such as when driving a car or riding a bicycle for long periods.
- Injury and urinary tract blockage are other causes.
- Tenderness in the scrotum.
- Burning feeling when urinating.
- Discharge from the penis.
- Pain during sex.
- Swelling may last for several days.
Your healthcare provider will ask about symptoms and examine the penis and scrotum. He/she may order a urinalysis and a blood test to look for infection, as well as take a sample of discharge from the penis, to be checked with a microscope. A sonogram (ultrasound) of the painful testicle may be done to exclude other causes of the pain and swelling.
- Antibiotics will be given for a bacterial infection.
- Over-the-counter drugs, such as ibuprofen can help pain.
- Stronger medicine may be needed for moderate to severe pain.
- Scrotal rest is advised, including getting pressure off this area by leaning back as if sitting in a lawn chair.
- An ice pack on the area will help swelling and discomfort.
- A rolled towel under the scrotum helps support and elevate it and reduces swelling and pain. Pain usually begins to go away 1 to 3 days after starting antibiotics or scrotal rest.
- Sex should be avoided for several days after symptoms go away.
- In rare cases, surgery may be needed for complications of infection.
- Rest until fever, swelling, and pain improve.
- Put a soft, rolled towel under the scrotum while in bed.
- Apply an ice pack to the scrotal area.
- Wear an athletic supporter when your activity increases.
- Take antibiotics until they are finished.
- Take nonprescription pain medicine.
- Use condoms to prevent STD infection.
- Call your healthcare provider if you get a high fever during treatment, if nonprescription drugs don’t control your pain, or if you become severely constipated.
- Call your healthcare provider if your symptoms don’t improve in 3 or 4 days after you start treatment.
- Do not skip doses or stop your antibiotics even if you feel better.
- Avoid having sex for several days after symptoms go away.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider.