Orchitis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
What is orchitis?
Orchitis refers to inflammation (swelling) of the testicles. It is usually caused by bacteria or viruses. One or both testicles can be affected.
What causes orchitis?
Orchitis is usually caused by an infection either by bacteria or virus. Many types of bacteria and viruses can cause this condition. Mostly, mumps virus causes orchitis. This infection mostly occurs in boys after puberty. Mostly, orchitis develops 4 to 6 days after the mumps begins.
Orchitis can also occur along with infections of the prostate or epididymis.
Sexually transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia can also cause orchitis.
The following are the risk factors for orchitis caused by STIs:
- Multiple sexual partners
- High-risk sexual behavior
- Personal history of gonorrhea or another STI
- Sexual partner with a diagnosed STI
The following are the other risk factors for orchitis:
- Not getting mumps vaccination
- Age older than age 45
- Long-term use of a Foley catheter
- Urinary tract problems since birth (congenital)
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Surgery of the urinary tract (genitourinary surgery)
What are the possible complications of orchitis?
Orchitis caused by mumps will result in testicular atrophy (shrinking of the testicles). Orchitis can also cause infertility.
The following are the other potential complications of orchitis:
- Scrotal abscess
- Death of testicle tissue
- Chronic epididymitis
- Cutaneous scrotal fistula (fistula on the skin of the scrotum)
What are the symptoms of orchitis?
The following are the symptoms of orchitis:
- Tenderness and swelling of affected testicle
- Pain and heavy feeling in the affected testicle
- Groin pain on the affected side
- Tenderness and swelling in the groin area on affected side
- Blood in the semen
- Discharge from penis
- Pain with intercourse or ejaculation
- Pain with urination (dysuria)
- Swelling in the scrotum
How is orchitis diagnosed?
Your doctor will conduct a physical exam and review the symptoms. The doctor may find the following during the physical exam:
- Tender and enlarged testicle on the affected side
- Enlarged or tender prostate gland
- Tender and enlarged lymph nodes in the groin area on the affected side
- Redness or tenderness of scrotum
The doctor may do the following tests for diagnosis:
- Complete blood count (CBC)
- Testicular ultrasound
- Urethral smear to screen for chlamydia and gonorrhea
- Clean catch urine culture- may take several samples; initial stream, midstream, and after prostate massage
How is orchitis treated?
Treatment of orchitis depends on the cause of the infection. If the condition is caused by STI, the patient’s partner also must be treated. The doctor may recommend the following treatment:
- Antibiotics for bacterial infection.
- Anti-inflammatory medicines.
- Pain medicines.
- Bed rest
- Elevation of the scrotum during bed rest
- Applying ice packs to the affected area.
This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.