Epididymis - Symptoms & Treatment
The epididymis is a structure which lies on and around each testicle. The result is pain and swelling in the loose bag of skin underneath the penis (scrotum). When a man complains of scrotal pain, acute or chronic epididymitis is far and away that most common diagnosis. Epididymitis most commonly affects men between the ages of 19 and 35. One of the most common causes of scrotal pain is epididymitis, which is infection and subsequent inflammation of these coiled tubes. Epididymitis is usually a secondary bacterial infection that is triggered by a range of conditions, such as urinary tract infections or sexually transmitted diseases. For heterosexual men older than 40 and for homosexual men, the most common cause of the infection is a urinary tract infection that spreads to the epididymis. When sperm are made, they enter the epididymis, and are stored while they mature. They need this extra time to develop before they set out on the long journey in the race for the egg. For young heterosexual men, the most common cause is a sexually transmitted disease (STD); for them, the best way to prevent epididymitis is to avoid behaviors that may result in STDs.
The epididymis is part of the human male reproductive system and is present in all male mammals . Acute epididymitis is usually more severe involving more significant swelling and pain than chronic epididymitis. The epididymis connects the testicle with the vas deferens the tube that carries sperm. In most cases the cause of the inflammation is a bacterial infection that spreads from your bladder or the tube that drains urine from your bladder (urethra). The epididymis can be divided into 3 sections: the head (an expanded upper end), the body, and the pointed tail. Epididymitis is not contagious, not inherited, and not a sign of cancer. Most true bacterial infections, such as those caused by Staphylococcus or E. Coli bacteria, cause fever, chills, generalized weakness, redness, swelling and intense pain of the scrotum and epididymis. Most cases can be treated as an outpatient however if the fever is high or the pain great , intravenous antibiotics may be required in hospital. The viral types may be associated with fevers and generalized weakness and ill feeling. The body tissues can be quite irritated by this leakage and hence the redness and swelling. The treatment for these types of epididymitis may include antibiotics just to prevent bacteria from infecting the area whose resistance has been weakened.
Causes of Epididymis
The common Causes of Epididymis :
- Urinary tract infections
- Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhoea
- Viruses, such as the mumps
- Recent genito-urinary surgery, including prostatectomy
- The use of urinary catheters
- Genital abnormalities
- Some congenital kidney and bladder problems.
- Treatment with the heart rhythm drug Amiodarone (Cordarone)
Symptoms of Epididymis
Some Symptoms of Epididymis :
- Blood in the semen
- Scrotal pain ranging from mild to severe
- Tender, swollen testicle on affected side
- Groin pain
- Painful scrotal swelling (testes enlarged)
- Painful intercourse or ejaculation
- Discharge from urethra (the opening at the end of the penis)
- Testicular lump
Treatment of Epididymis
- You will be given antibiotics if your epididymitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Take all of your antibiotics, even if you begin to feel better. If it is possible that your epididymitis is sexually transmitted, your partner may also need treatment with antibiotics.
- This includes drugs such as ibuprofen to help reduce swelling.
- Stay in bed to keep the testicles from moving and promote healing. You will need bed rest until the swelling subsides.
- After symptoms have improved, you'll need to wear an athletic supporter for several weeks.
- Ice packs placed on the affected area can help reduce swelling
- Surgery to drain an abscess (in rare cases)
- Subsequent check-ups to ensure the infection has cleared up.