by Amy Scholten, MPH
Epididymitis is inflammation of the epididymis. The epididymis is a tiny tubule on the back of the testicle. It stores sperm and makes a path for sperm to pass out of the body.
Epididymitis may be:
Epididymitis is often caused by an infection. It can also be caused by an injury. Sometimes the cause is not known.
This condition is more common in men from 20 to 30 years old. However, it can affect males of any age.
Things that may raise the risk are:
Symptoms depend on the cause. They may be:
Symptoms of chronic epididymitis may start gradually.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may suspect epididymitis based on the exam. Tests may be done to look for the cause. They may include:
Acute epididymitis goes away with treatment. If untreated, it may become long term (chronic). If chronic, symptoms may come and go, even with treatment.
The goal is to prevent damage to the testicle. The type of treatment depends on the cause. Options include:
If an STI is diagnosed, sexual partner(s) will need to be told and treated.
Hospital care may be needed for severe symptoms or infection. Surgery may be needed for severe, chronic epididymitis.
To reduce the risk of epididymitis, practice safe sex.
National Kidney Foundation
Urology Care Foundation
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Acute epididymitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-epididymitis. Accessed March 16, 2021.
Epididymitis and orchitis. Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/e/epididymitis-and-orchitis#. Accessed March 16, 2021.
Lynch S. Acute epididymitis. JAAPA. 2018;31(3):50-51.
McConaghy, JR, Panchal, B. Epididymitis: an overview. Am Fam Physician. 2016 Nov 1;94(9):723-726.
2015 Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/default.htm. Accessed March 16, 2021.
Last reviewed January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 3/16/2021