Definition

What is orchitis?

Orchitis is an inflammation of the testicles. It can be caused by either bacteria or a virus. Both testicles may be affected by orchitis at the same time. However, the symptoms usually appear in just one testicle. This kind of testicular inflammation is often associated with the mumps virus.

How common is orchitis?

Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Symptoms

What are the symptoms of orchitis?

The common symptoms of orchitis are:

  • Swelling in one or both testicles
  • Pain ranging from mild to severe
  • Tenderness in one or both testicles, which may last for weeks
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting

The terms “testicle pain” and “groin pain” are sometimes used interchangeably. But groin pain occurs in the fold of skin between the thigh and abdomen — not in the testicle. The causes of groin pain are different from the causes of testicle pain.

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you experience pain or swelling in your scrotum, especially if the pain occurs suddenly, see your doctor right away.

A number of conditions can cause testicle pain, and some of the conditions require immediate treatment. One such condition involves twisting of the spermatic cord (testicular torsion), which may cause pain similar to that caused by orchitis. Your doctor can perform tests to determine which condition is causing your pain.

Causes

What causes orchitis?

A virus or bacteria can cause orchitis.

The most common cause of viral orchitis is the mumps. Mumps is a viral childhood disease that’s rare in the United States due to effective immunization programs. The Mayo Clinic estimates that 33 percent of men who get the mumps as teens also develop orchitis. Viral orchitis related to the mumps develops anywhere from four to 10 days after the salivary glands swell. Salivary gland swelling is a symptom of the mumps.

Bacterial infection can also lead to orchitis in males. Urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and a related condition called epididymitis can result in orchitis, too. Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis. This is the tube that stores sperm and connects the testicles to the vas deferens.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for orchitis?

There are many risk factors for orchitis, such as:

  • 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

Diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is orchitis diagnosed?

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. This involves your doctor inserting a finger into your rectum to physically examine the prostate.

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.

Ultrasound imaging can rule out testicular torsion. Testicular torsion is another condition that causes extreme pain in the testicles and groin area, and the symptoms are often confused with those of orchitis. Testicular torsion is the twisting of the spermatic cord — a network of nerves and blood vessels that runs into each testicle. It can threaten your fertility if it interrupts blood flow to your testicles. Therefore, you should see a physician immediately.

How is orchitis treated?

There’s no cure for viral orchitis, but the condition will go away on its own. In the meantime, you can use remedies at home to manage your symptoms. Taking pain relievers, applying ice packs, and elevating the testicles when possible can make you more comfortable.

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.

Abstain from sexual intercourse and heavy lifting while you treat orchitis. If you’re infected with an STI, your partner will need treatment, too.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage orchitis?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with orchitis:

  • Rest in bed
  • Lie down so that your scrotum is elevated
  • Apply cold packs to your scrotum as tolerated
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: November 28, 2017 | Last Modified: November 28, 2017

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