1 What is Orchitis?

Orchitis is a condition in which one or both testicles are inflamed. The cause can be a bacterial infection or the mumps virus. Orchitis caused by bacteria may be due to sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia or gonorrhea.

The condition is painful and can have a negative effect on fertility. Certain medications can be used to treat the causes of bacterial orchitis.

In addition, medication can also be used to alleviate the symptoms of its viral counterpart. The scrotal tenderness may take a few weeks to disappear after treatment starts.

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2 Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of orchitis may abruptly develop.

These include:

  • Swollen testicle/s
  • Mild to severe pain around the area
  • Tenderness on the area
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

See a doctor if you are experiencing pain in the scrotum. The pain may occur suddenly and often accompanied by swelling. Visiting your doctor as soon as possible for early diagnosis allows for early treatment.

3 Causes

An infection may cause orchitis. Orchitis caused by bacterial infection is due to epididymitis, which takes place when the urethra or bladder becomes infected. The cause of this kind of infection is usually STI or sexually transmitted infection.

In some cases, the cause of infection may be due to inborn abnormalities of the urinary tract. It may also be due to insertion of catheter or other instruments into the penis.

On the other hand, viral orchitis is typically caused by the mumps or measles virus. 

4 Making a Diagnosis

Making a diagnosis of orchitis is done by a urologist, or a specialist in urinary issues. When seeing a doctor, it would be helpful to write all important information beforehand, so you can maximize your time and not forget anything vital, as well.

Making a list of all the symptoms you have, even if it seems to not be related with the other symptoms is advised. You can also list down important info on your medical history, including your childhood immunizations and the viral diseases you’ve had. Inform your doctor about your recent illness, if there are any; and please be honest about sexually-transmitted infections. A list of medications you are currently taking or have recently taken is also important.

Your check-up may start with questions, and then followed with a physical exam to check if your groin has some enlarged lymph nodes or if there’s an enlargement in one or both testicles.

In addition, you will be likely to undergo an STI screening, in which the doctor will get a sample of discharge from the urethra. The sample will be checked to rule out chlamydia and gonorrhea.

A urine test may also be necessary to check any abnormalities in the urine. To rule out testicular torsion, a Doppler ultrasound may be used, as well as a nuclear testicular scan.

5 Treatment

Depending on the cause of orchitis, the treatment to be given will vary.

Bacterial Orchitis treatment

In treating bacterial orchitis caused by an STI, it is not only you that will require treatment, your sexual partner will also need it, too. Your doctor may prescribe certain antibiotics that you need to take as prescribed, regardless if the symptoms disappear sooner. The doctor may also suggest using athletic strap to support your scrotum, applying ice packs on the affected area, and taking a lot of rest. Pain medication to alleviate pain may also be prescribed.

Viral Orchitis treatment

The treatment for viral orchitis focuses on relieving its symptoms. The doctor may prescribe pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Applying cold compress, elevating the scrotum, and taking a bed rest for a while can also relieve the symptoms. Typically, the symptoms of viral orchitis disappear in 3-10 days, but the scrotal tenderness may last up to several weeks.

6 Prevention

Preventing orchitis is possible. Viral orchitis and Bacterial orchitis can both be prevented by getting mumps immunization and practicing safe sex.

7 Lifestyle and Coping

Coping with orchitis is basically just keeping yourself comfortable as your symptoms disappear.

Taking a bed rest, lying down with the scrotum elevated, and applying cold compress to the area may help you cope with the pain.