What is Orchitis?

Orchitis is a condition in which one or both testicles become inflamed. Most often, it is caused by the mumps virus or an infection. The latter may occur due to a virus or bacteria that can by passed on through various sexually transmitted infections, especially chlamydia and gonorrhea. Bacterial orchitis sometimes stems from epididymitis, which is an inflammation in the coiled tube that carries and stores the sperm in the back of the testicle.

Men who have not been vaccinated against mumps, have recurring urinary infections, and who have frequent unprotected sexual encounters with numerous partners are among those at the highest risk of developing orchitis. This risk increases when any of those partners has a sexually transmitted infection. Left untreated, the condition can result in complications such as testicular atrophy, chronic epididymitis, scrotal abscess, death of testicular tissues, and – in rare cases – infertility.

What are the Symptoms of Orchitis?

Patients with orchitis frequently report symptoms as setting in suddenly. The infection can cause men to experience:

  • Swelling in the testicles
  • Testicular pain
  • Tenderness in the testicles
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Painful urination
  • Blood in semen
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
  • Abnormal discharge

How is Orchitis Treated?

Depending on what is determined to be the cause of the infection, a doctor may recommend various treatments. In cases of bacterial orchitis, patients will be prescribed antibiotics, which is also recommended for their sexual partner if they have a sexually transmitted infection.

There is no cure for viral orchitis, so treatment focuses on relieving the symptoms until the condition has run its course and clears up on its own. This can be accomplished through the use of NSAIDs, cold packs, and bed rest. It is also highly recommended that patients refrain from sexual intercourse and lifting heavy objects during treatment, which may take several weeks.