Orchitis is an inflammation caused in one or both testicles. It can be the result of a bacterial infection. The mumps virus can also cause orchitis.
What is orchitis?
If orchitis is associated with inflammation of the epididymis (the coiled tube at the back of the testicles which is responsible for storing and carrying the sperm), it is called epididymal-orchitis. It is painful and can cause infertility in men. The risk of increases if you are not vaccinated against mumps if you suffer from frequent urinary tract infections, if you had surgery of the urinary tract or genitals or if you have had a defect in the urinary tract since birth.
You would be at risk of sexually transmitted if you had several sexual partners, if you had sex with a partner suffering from sexually transmitted infection (STI), if you had sex without using a condom or if you have a personal history of sexually transmitted infections. If not treated on time, orchitis can lead to several complications, such as testicular atrophy, where the affected testicle begins to shrink. Untreated orchitis can lead to scrotal abscess where pus fills the infected tissue. In certain cases, it can lead to hypogonadism or inadequate testosterone production.
What are the Symptoms of Orchitis?
The symptoms are:
- Swelling in one or both testicles
- Pain ranging from mild to severe
- Nausea and vomiting
- A general feeling of un-wellness (malaise)
- Tenderness or infection in the scrotum
- Pain while ejaculating
- Pain while urinating
- Blood in your semen
- Abnormal discharge
- Swollen lymph nodes in the groin
When to see a doctor?
If you have sudden pain in your testicles or groin, you should immediately consult a doctor. There might be other reasons like testicular torsion that also leads to testicular pain similar to orchitis. So, you should visit your doctor as soon as you notice any of the symptoms.
How can you Prevent Orchitis?
- You should get vaccinated against mumps which is the most common cause of orchitis.
- You should practice safe sex and use condoms to stay protected against sexually transmitted infections.
- You should get your prostate examined every year if you are above 50 years.
What are the Remedies to Orchitis?
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Naproxen, Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen can be taken in case you are suffering from orchitis.
- You can elevate your scrotum with an athletic supporter or snug-fitting briefs.
- You can wrap ice in a thin cloth and apply it on your scrotum for relief. Apply ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes for the first one or two days.
How is it Treated?
Your doctor will decide your line of treatment depending upon the cause. He/she will diagnose whether the cause involves a viral infection or bacterial infection.
- Treatment for viral infection: For the treatment of viral orchitis, your doctor will prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Naproxen sodium and Ibuprofen. You will be advised bed rest while keeping your scrotum elevated. Your doctor might also prescribe the application of ice packs to relieve pain and inflammation.
- Treatment for bacterial infection: For the treatment of bacterial orchitis, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. If a sexually transmitted infection causes your orchitis, your partner will also be prescribed antibiotics. You should complete the entire course of medicine even if your symptoms get reduced. Otherwise, the infection can recur. It usually takes several weeks for the infection to go away completely. Your doctor will prescribe pain relievers to manage the symptoms.
Orchitis is a curable disease, but it should not be neglected. If you start treatment early, complications will be less. Otherwise, there is the risk of infertility or testicular atrophy. With timely treatment and proper hygiene, you can be cured within a few weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How long does it take to recover?
It generally takes three to 10 days to start recovering from viral orchitis. It may take several weeks for the scrotal tenderness to heal completely.
Does orchitis affect fertility?
In certain cases, orchitis might affect fertility or cause inadequate testosterone production (hypogonadism). But these conditions may not occur when only when one testicle is affected.
What is the most common cause of orchitis?
Mumps is the most common cause of orchitis. You can get it in four to six days after developing mumps. Most often it occurs in boys after puberty.
Can orchitis recur?
Yes, bacterial orchitis can recur in future if you do not complete the course of antibiotics prescribed by your doctor.
What are the five signs of orchitis?
The five common signs of orchitis are tenderness in the scrotum, blood in the semen, painful urination, swollen scrotum and abnormal discharge.