Acute epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis. This is a structure that surrounds and attaches to each testicle. It is shaped like a tube. The epididymis helps transport and store sperm cells.
Chronic epididymitis causes discomfort or pain in the epididymis. It can last for three months or longer. This type is less common.
This condition is most often caused by a bacterial infection. For example:
Other causes include:
Only men can develop this condition. Risk factors include:
Children and newborns can get epididymitis. It is not necessary to have a urinary tract infection.
Symptoms usually develop within one day. These include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. He or she will do a physical exam. Tests may include:
Treatment is essential to prevent the infection from worsening. Treatment may include:
Do not have sex until you and your partner have completed treatment.
If you are diagnosed with epididymitis, follow your doctor's instructions.
The following steps can help decrease your risk:
National Kidney Foundation
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Health Network
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2010. MMWR. 2010;59(No. RR-12):1-110.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines 2006: epididymitis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2006/epididymitis.htm. Updated April 12, 2007. Accessed July 15, 2010.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guide: 2006. MMWR. 2006;55. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/treatment/2006/rr5511.pdf. Accessed February 5, 2008.
Hori S, Sengupta A, et al. Long-term outcome of epididymectomy for the management of chronic epididymal pain. J Urol. 2009 Oct;182(4):1407-1412.
The Merck Manual of Diagnosis & Therapy. 17th ed. Rahway, NJ: Merck & Co; 1999.
Santillanes G, Gausche-Hill M, et al. Are antibiotics necessary for pediatric epididymitis? Pediatr Emerg Care. 2011 Feb 19.
Last reviewed September 2012 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 09/12/2012