Orchitis Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Orchitis is defined as the swelling of one or both testicles. It manifests as a result of a virus or infection. The most common cause is the Mumps virus and will usually occur within 7 days of the virus beginning. Boys are the most common sufferers especially after the onset of puberty. Infections of the prostate and epididymis can also cause Orchitis. The epididymis is the tube located at the back of the testicle that stores and carries sperm. Gonorrhea or Chlamydia and other STD (sexually transmitted diseases) can also cause Orchitis. This is more common in men aged between 19 and 35 years of age, because of their increased sexual activity and multiple partners as compared to older men.

Orchitis Symptoms

Symptoms can include but are not limited to; discharge from the penis, blood in the semen, urination pain, intercourse or ejaculation pain, fever, groin pain, swelling of the scrotum, testicle pain when having a bowel movement, or when straining. If you notice any of these symptoms consult your doctor. Treatments include anti-inflammatory medication, antibiotics, pain medication, bed rest with an ice pack applied to the area and the scrotum elevated. Men who have had orchitis due to the mumps virus may become sterile. Boys who have had the virus may suffer testicle shrinkage (atrophy).

About 25 percent of sufferers of orchitis have had the mumps, and it develops after puberty. The infection is associated with painful swelling of the testicles, fever and a general feeling of increased testicular pressure. Childhood vaccination for mumps may prevent the onset of orchitis as a complication from the mumps virus. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen will usually  decrease the swelling and any pain associated with orchitis.

Salmonella can cause unspecific orchitis in children, while specific infections such as tuberculosis (TB) and syphilis are no longer of relevance in developed western countries. Non-specific orchitis is extremely rare and is thought to originate from the auto-immune system. Older men are usually affected and are usually associated with an impaired functioning of the bladder. Chronic orchitis will sometimes not be recognized until a biopsy of the testicles is carried out and inflammation is discovered.

Bacterial orchitis is usually the result of epididymitis, which is an inflamed epididymis which is connected to the testicle. The epididymis stores and carries seminal fluid. When the inflammation spreads down to the testicle and causes pain and swelling it is called epididymo-orchitis. This condition is often a result of an infection originating in the bladder or urethra, and spreads down to the testicles.

Viral orchitis is most often the result of mumps as previously explained , but sometimes can be associated with Coxsackie virus, Dengue virus, group B arbo virus, Marburg virus and other similar viruses.


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