Epididymitis: Understanding Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatments

Epididymitis is an inflammatory condition primarily affecting the epididymis– a tube that connects the testicles to the vas deferens. When the epididymis becomes inflamed, an individual usually experiences discomfort and swelling. As a result, epididymitis is often referred to as painful testicle syndrome.

Commonly known causes for epididymitis include sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, as well as a bacteria known as Escherichia coli. Epididymitis may also be caused by medical procedures, trauma or a blockage in the urinary tract.

What are the Symptoms of Epididymitis?

The most common symptoms of epididymitis are swelling and tenderness of the testicles and scrotum, as well as pain that radiates down the spermatic cord. Other symptoms may include painful urination, difficulty urinating, pain in the groin area, and cloudy or bloody discharge from the penis.

How is Epididymitis Diagnosed?

If your doctor suspects you may have epididymitis, they will likely recommend a physical examination. During this examination, your doctor may order various tests including a urine sample, as well as a swab of the urethra to check for STIs. Your doctor may also order an ultrasound, which can help determine if there is any inflammation or infection in the epididymis.

Treatment Options for Epididymitis

Depending on the severity of the condition, your doctor may recommend a course of either antibiotics or other medications to reduce inflammation and swelling. If the epididymitis is caused by a sexually transmitted infection, your doctor will likely recommend that you abstain from sex until the infection has cleared. Here is a list of other treatment options for epididymitis:

  • Antibiotics to treat the underlying infection
  • Pain medications to reduce inflammation and swelling
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Surgery to remove scar tissue that has formed in the epididymis
  • Hot baths or warm compresses to help reduce pain and inflammation
  • Avoiding certain activities that can make the condition worse such as cycling or running

It is important to note that epididymitis can be a chronic and relapsing condition, so it is important to take all necessary precautions to ensure your comfort and wellbeing. If you believe that you may have epididymitis, it is important to speak with your doctor as soon as possible for an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.