Epididymitis is the inflammation of the epididymis (coiled tubes) in the back of the testicles that carry and store sperm. Epididymitis can affect men of any ages.
In most cases, epididymitis is caused by a bacterial infection, which includes sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia.
The signs and symptoms associated with epididymitis can be different depending on the severity. Here are some of the most common symptoms that patients report:
- Swollen, warm or red scrotum
- Pain when urinating
- Constant urge to urinate
- Painful and tender testicle, usually on one side only
- Blood in semen
- Discharge from the penis
- Pelvic or lower abdomen pain
If you have symptoms for longer than six months or recurring epididymitis this is considered a chronic illness.
It is important that if you have scrotum pain, you do not ignore it, as it can be caused by a number of different reasons. Some causes of scrotum pain need immediate treatment to avoid permanent damage.
There are a number of different factors that can increase a man’s risk of developing epididymitis. This includes:
- Sexual intercourse with someone that has an STI
- Sexual intercourse without a condom
- A history of STI
- History of prostate or urinary tract infection
- A previous procedure that requires you to have a catheter or scope inserted into the penis
- Uncircumcised penis
- Prostate enlargement
To diagnose epididymitis, your doctor will conduct a physical examination of the testicles and surrounding areas. You may also need a rectal examination to see if the prostate is enlarged. You may also be sent for an STI screening, urine and blood test and an ultrasound.
Once you have had a clear diagnosis you will be put on a course of antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria that is causing the infection. You should start to feel the effects after a few days. It is important that you finish the course of antibiotics and go to see your doctor after if you are not fully recovered.
In some cases, men may form an abscess in your scrotum. If this is the case, you may need to have surgery to remove it. You may also be considered for surgery if you have an abnormality that is making you more susceptible to epididymitis.