Epididymitis is a bacterial infection or swelling of the epididymis, a tube behind the testicle that is responsible for storing and carrying sperm. Epididymitis is generally characterized by pain, swelling and tenderness in the scrotum. Epididymitis most commonly affects men in their 20s or 30s, although it can occur at any age.

Causes of Epididymitis

Epididymitis may occur as a result of some of the following conditions:

  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Bacterial infection
  • Enlargement of the prostate

Symptoms of Epididymitis

Symptoms of epididymitis vary depending on the cause. They may include:

  • Warmth, tenderness or swelling of the scrotum
  • Painful intercourse or ejaculation
  • Blood in the semen
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
  • Penile discharge
  • A lump on the testicle
  • Testicle pain
  • Chills or fever

Diagnosis of Epididymitis

To diagnose epididymitis, a physician will perform a physical examination. To identify the exact cause of the symptoms, the following tests may also be administered:

  • Ultrasound imaging
  • STD screening
  • Urinalysis
  • Blood test
  • Rectal and/or prostate examination

Treatment of Epididymitis

Treatment of epididymitis may include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatory medication for discomfort
  • Bed rest and elevation of the scrotum

For severe cases of epididymitis that do not respond to any of the above treatments, an epididymectomy may be performed. This process surgically removes the epididymis while leaving the testicles in place.

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