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.
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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 2013 by Mohei Abouzied, MD
Last Updated: 9/30/2013