• A Patient’s Guide to Epididymitis

    The epididymis is a small, coiled tube located at the rear of the testicle. It’s responsible for storing and transporting sperm. When this tube becomes inflamed, the condition is called epididymitis. Epididymitis can be painful. If you suspect you might have this condition, it’s a good idea to see a urologist promptly.

    Signs and Symptoms

    Acute epididymitis often causes one-sided testicular pain and tenderness, swelling and reddening of the testicle, and painful urination. Men may also experience the following:

    • Urgent or frequent urination
    • Penile discharge
    • Painful ejaculation
    • Pain of the pelvic region
    • Bloody semen
    • Testicular lump
    • Fever

    Chronic epididymitis occurs when the symptoms last longer than six weeks.

    Causes and Risk Factors

    In boys and men who are sexually active, the most common cause of epididymitis is sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like gonorrhea and chlamydia. It’s also possible to develop epididymitis because of a non-STD infection, such as urinary tract infections. In some men, urine trickles backward into the epididymis. This can also cause inflammation. Other possible causes and risk factors include the following:

    • Groin injury
    • Tuberculosis
    • Certain medications
    • Unprotected sex
    • Prostate enlargement
    • Uncircumcised penis

    Diagnostic Tests

    To diagnose epididymitis, a urologist will perform a physical exam, review the patient’s medical history, and evaluate his symptoms. A rectal exam may be needed to rule out the possibility of prostate enlargement. Then, the urologist may ask to run some tests, such as an STD screening, urine test, and blood test. Sometimes, an ultrasound can be helpful to rule out the possibility of testicular torsion.

    Treatment Options

    If the urologist determines that the problem is caused by a bacterial infection, he or she can prescribe antibiotics. For STDs, it’s necessary to treat the patient’s sexual partner. While the infection is clearing up, patients can relieve their discomfort by wearing an athletic support and applying cold packs. A follow-up visit will check whether the infection has resolved. In some cases, an abscess may have formed. This requires surgical intervention.

    If you’re experiencing sexual health problems, you can turn to the trusted urology team in Tennessee. The award-winning, board-certified urologists at Urology Associates, P.C. are dedicated to providing compassionate, patient-centered care. Call (888) 329-7700 to request an appointment or visit our website to read more about male health issues, including sexual dysfunction.