Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis, a coiled tube that lies above and behind each testicle and stores and transports sperm. Epididymitis is often caused by a bacterial infection or viral infection of the urinary tract that spreads into a man's reproductive system.
Epididymitis can occur due to the backflow of infected urine (urine reflux), but most often is due to due to an infection by a sexually transmitted disease. Epididymitis is usually caused by chlamydia, gonorrhea, or non-gonococcal urethritis. These and other sexually transmitted diseases are passed from one person another during sexual contact that involves vaginal, oral, or anal sex.
Any person that engages in sexual activity can contract and pass on a sexually transmitted infection that can cause epididymitis. This includes heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual men. The more sexual partners a man has, the greater the risk of contracting an infection that can cause epididymitis.
Epididymitis caused by a sexually transmitted disease that is caught early can be quickly and easily treated. However, if left untreated it can lead to complications, such as chronic epididymitis. If a sexually transmitted disease caused epididymitis, it can also put a person at greater risk for contracting HIV.
Symptoms of epididymitis vary between individuals. Typical symptoms include severe pain and swelling of the affected side of the scrotum. Men may also experience discharge from the penis, and pain or burning with urination. For additional symptoms and more details about complications, refer to symptoms of epididymitis.
Making a diagnosis of epididymitis includes taking a medical and sexual history, performing diagnositc testing, and completing a physical examination and an exam of the penis and testicles.
During the examination, the health care practitioner will assess the reproductive organs and take a swab sample from the man's urethra and have it tested for the presence of a sexually transmitted disease. An urinanalysis tests the urine for infection. Blood tests and a test on prostate fluid may also be performed to find the cause of infection.
A diagnosis of epididymitis can be missed or delayed because symptoms may be similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information diseases and conditions that can mimic epididymitis, refer to misdiagnosis of epididymitis.
The first step in the treatment of epididymitis is prevention. Prevention of epididymitis is best accomplished by abstaining from sexual activity or having sex only within a mutually monogamous relationship in which neither partner is infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Latex condoms also provide some protection when used properly.
Treatment of epididymitis caused by a bacterial infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, includes antibiotic medication and a variety of supportive therapies. Prompt diagnosis and treatment reduces the chances of developing serious complications. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of epididymitis. ...more »
Epididymitis: Infection of the epididymis (testicle tube).
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Epididymitis is available below.
Symptoms of epididymitis can vary among individuals. Symptoms of epididymitis include severe pain, inflammation, and swelling on the affected side of the scrotum. The affected testicle can feel heavy and hot.
Symptoms may also include fever, chills, discharge from the penis, and burning with urination. There may also be lower abdominal pain, ...more symptoms »
Treatment of epididymitis starts with prevention. Preventive measures include seeking regular medical care throughout a lifetime. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to best evaluate the risks of contracting a sexually transmitted disease, which can cause epididymitis, and regularly test for these diseases as needed. These measures greatly increase the chances of ...more treatments »
A prompt diagnosis and treatment of epididymitis caused by a sexually transmitted disease increases the chances of preserving fertility and preventing other complications, such as chronic epididymitis and scrotal abscess.
A diagnosis of epididymitis can be missed or delayed because symptoms can be similar to symptoms of other disease and conditions, such as orchitis, ...more misdiagnosis »
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Definitions of Epididymitis:
Inflammation of the epididymis. (Dorland, 27th ed)
- (Source - Diseases Database)
Painful inflammation of the epididymis
- (Source - WordNet 2.1)
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