Among the several penile complications men could face, epididymitis is one of the most common ones. Often caused by bacterial infections that could also be sexually transmitted, this is a condition seen commonly in men between 15 to 35 years of age.
Epididymitis is a condition wherein one observes an inflammation of the epididymis–a coiled tube at the back of a testicle. In severe conditions, there could be an inflammation of both, the epididymis and the testicle, called epididymo-orchitis.
Infections causing epididymitis could be related to sexual activity, medical history, and even age. Prompt and proper medical attention is advised at the earliest signs to avoid serious and permanent repercussions.
Here’s a detailed look at the condition, its symptoms, causes, and general treatment:
The symptoms to watch out for include:
- Swelling, tenderness or pain in the scrotum
- Pain that is usually first felt at the back of a testicle after which it quickly spreads to the entire testicle, scrotum and even the groin area
- Excessive pain, redness, and heat in the penile area
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Fever and chills
- White or yellow discharge from the penis
- Blood in the semen
- Accumulation of watery fluid in the scrotum
- Epididymitis is usually caused by the spreading of a bacterial infection. Such infections could be sexually transmitted, found in the urinary tract, or from the urethra or bladder in children.
- Gonorrhoea or chlamydia is the most common cause of epididymitis observed in young sexually active men, especially those who do not use a condom and have multiple sexual partners.
- In children, older men and homosexual men, it is often a urinary tract infection that could lead to epididymitis.
- An injury to the area that harms the epididymis or urine flowing back to it could also cause the condition.
- There are other rare and unusual causes of epididymitis as well, which include tuberculosis, mumps, and structural complications in the urinary tract, among others.
During the diagnosis, the patient may have to undergo certain tests that include blood tests for infections and STDs, urinalysis, urine cultures and tests of fluids from within the urethra or of the discharge.
Severe symptoms may even require the doctor to check for testicular torsion.
Epididymitis is treated with a variety of antibiotics depending on the cause of the condition. While being treated, a patient will be advised to rest for a couple of days, elevate the scrotum, drink a lot of water and other fluids and apply ice packs to the penile area in addition to the prescribed medicine.
In mild cases, the pain may subside within a few days. However, the swelling in the scrotum and testicles may last for some weeks.
Epididymitis is a condition that shouldn’t be ignored. Consult a doctor at the sign of pain in the scrotum or testicles, if you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above and especially if these very symptoms develop quickly.
It is important to remember that you are at risk if you have a history of urinary tract infections or practice unsafe sex with multiple partners. It is always recommended you always use condoms during sex–even oral or anal–to avoid such sexually transmitted infections.