The epididymis is a tiny, looped tubule that sits on the back of the testicle. The tubule stores sperm and makes a path for sperm to pass out of the body. Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis. It may be:
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Epididymitis is most often caused by an infection but can also be caused by an injury.
Sometimes the cause is not clear.
Only men can develop this condition but it can affect males of any age.
Infections that may lead to epididymitis include:
Other problems that may increase the risk of epididymitis include:
Symptoms will depend on the cause but can include:
Symptoms of chronic epididymitis may start more gradually.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Epididymitis may be suspected based on the physical exam. Tests may be done to look for the underlying cause. These may include:
Treatment is important to prevent permanent damage. The specific treatment will depend on the cause. Options include:
Rest and support:
Medication such as:
If an STD is diagnosed, sexual partner(s) will need to be notified and treated.
Surgery may be needed for severe chronic epididymitis.
To help reduce your chances of epididymitis:
National Kidney Foundation
Urology Care Foundation
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
2015 Sexually transmitted diseases treatment guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/std/tg2015/default.htm. Updated January 25, 2017. Accessed October 9, 2017.
Acute epididymitis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114552/Acute-epididymitis . Accessed October 6, 2017. Accessed October 9, 2017.
Hori S, Sengupta A, Shukla CJ, Ingall E, McLoughlin J. Long-term outcome of epididymectomy for the management of chronic epididymal pain. J Urol. 2009;182(4):1407-1412.
Santillanes G, Gausche-Hill M, Lewis RJ. Are antibiotics necessary for pediatric epididymitis? Pediatr Emerg Care. 2011;27(3):174-178.
Last reviewed September 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
Last Updated: 3/13/2017