Epididymitis

Epididymitis is the inflammation of the epididymis, the tube through which sperm passes, located at the back of each testicle. Although the infection can affect both sides of the epididymis, it most often occurs on one side only.

SIGNS OF EPIDIDYMITIS

When the scrotum gradually becomes painful over the course of several hours or days, epididymitis is likely. The pain is generally severe and is accompanied by fever, swelling and tenderness.

CAUSES

A bacterial infection which originates in the bladder or prostate is most often the cause of epididymitis. The infection may also be caused by a sexually transmitted disease such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. In older men, the common cause is coliform bacteria, which are found in the gastrointestinal tract and usually enter through the urethra.

TREATMENT

Your doctor will generally prescribe antibiotics. You sex partner will sometimes need to be treated at the same time to prevent reinfection. Bed rest and application of ice packs will help relieve the pain. Also elevating the scrotum with a rolled up towel for support may relieve discomfort. Sexual activity should be suspended until the infection clears up. An athletic supporter can be worn to ease discomfort during recuperation.

TIPS FOR PREVENTION

  • Keep the area of the penis and scrotum clean.
  • Get prompt treatment for urinary tract infections.
  • Use a condom to guard against sexually transmitted diseases.

 

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