Orchitis is characterized by inflammation in one or both testicles in males. It usually occurs due to an infection caused by bacteria or viruses. It can spread when bacteria enters the blood from other parts of the body. It can also occur due to epididymitis, which is an infection that develops in the tube that transports semen out of the testicles. This is known as epididymo-orchitis. Orchitis is also commonly associated with the virus that is responsible for mumps. Studies have shown that about one third of males who develops mumps after puberty go on to develop orchitis.
What Causes Orchitis?
It is most often caused by bacterial infection and the mumps virus. Sometimes it occurs with infections of the epididymis. The epididymis are tubes on top of the scrotum that transport sperm to the vas deferens. Orchitis may also occur as a result of an infection of the prostate or a sexually-transmitted disease.
Signs & symptoms
Signs and symptoms of orchitis typically develop suddenly. These symptoms may include:
- Swelling and tenderness in one or both testicles
- Mild to severe pain
- Nausea and vomiting
It should be noted that testicular pain and groin pain are used interchangeably. But groin pain usually occurs within the fold skin between the thigh and the abdomen. Causes for groin pain are usually different from testicular pain.
Risk factors for nonsexually transmitted orchitis include:
- Not being immunized against mumps
- Having recurring urinary tract infections
- Having surgery that involves the genitals or urinary tract
- Being born with an abnormality in the urinary tract
Sexual behaviors that can lead to STIs put you at risk of sexually transmitted orchitis. Those behaviors include having:
- Multiple sexual partners
- Sex with a partner who has an STI
- Sex without a condom
- A personal history of an STI
Your doctor will ask you questions about your medical history and your symptoms. They’ll perform a physical examination to determine the extent of the inflammation. You may need a prostate examination to see if your prostate is inflamed. Your doctor may ask for a urine sample and swab any discharge for lab analysis. This can determine if you have STIs or other infections.
Bacterial orchitis is treated with antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and cold packs. Regardless of the source of your inflammation, full recovery can take several weeks. It is advised to also abstain from sexual intercourse and heavy lifting while being treated for orchitis. If you’re infected with an STI, your partner will require treatment as well. Most men suffering from orchitis can recover completely with no lasting effects.