Testicular inflammation, orchitis: symptoms & treatment

What is testicular inflammation, what are the symptoms of testicular inflammation and how is testicular inflammation treated? An inflammation of the testicle (testis) is called orchitis. Another name is testicular inflammation or testicular inflammation. Such inflammation may be accompanied by inflammation of the epididymis. This is called epididymo-orchitis. Usually only one side is affected, but sometimes the inflammation occurs in both testicles. Symptoms include redness and swelling of the testicle on the affected side and pain.

  • What is testicular inflammation?
  • Causes of testicular inflammation
  • Bacteria and viruses
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Mumps
  • No increased risk of testicular cancer
  • Symptoms of testicular inflammation
  • Examination and diagnosis
  • Treatment of orchitis
  • Prognosis
  • Prevention

What is testicular inflammation?

An inflammation of the testicle (testis) is called orchitis. Testicular inflammation can occur on its own or in combination with inflammation of the epididymis. In that case it is called epididymo-orchitis . Usually only one side is affected, but sometimes the inflammation occurs in both testicles.

Causes of testicular inflammation

Bacteria and viruses

Both bacteria and viruses can cause orchitis. The bacteria Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus are often the culprits. Orchitis can also develop as a complication after inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis). And as noted in the introduction, inflammation of the epididymis (epididymitis) can also lead to orchitis.

Sexually transmitted disease

Bacteria that cause sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis, can cause orchitis. These bacteria are transferred during sex. A risk factor is having many changing sexual partners.

Mumps

Another cause for orchitis is parotitis epidemica, or mumps . During childhood, this complication of mumps occurs only rarely. However, after childhood, a higher percentage of cases are associated with complications. Orchitis occurs in 25% of postpubertal males with mumps. It is a feared complication because of the alleged risk of fertility disorders. Since it usually concerns one-sided orchitis, infertility rarely occurs. Only 1 in 6 patients has bilateral orchitis and even in these cases it rarely leads to sterility. So it is an unwarranted concern.¹

Testicular cancer / Source: Joshya/Shutterstock.com

No increased risk of testicular cancer

Some researchers claim that experiencing testicular inflammation increases the risk of developing testicular cancer.² However, there is insufficient evidence for this.³

Symptoms of testicular inflammation

The symptoms of orchitis include:

  • (high fever;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • diarrhea;
  • redness and swelling of the testicle on the affected side;
  • discharge from the urethra;
  • pain when urinating (dysuria);
  • blood in the semen;
  • pain during sexual intercourse or during ejaculation;
  • pain in the groin;
  • pain in the thighs, scrotum or lower abdomen;
  • the pain in the testis often becomes more severe during defecation (defecation) or with exertion.

In orchitis as a complication of mumps, there is initially swelling of one or both cheeks due to inflammation of the parotid gland. The symptoms of orchitis listed above begin approximately seven to ten days after the onset of mumps.

Blood collection / Source: Istock.com/anna1311

Examination and diagnosis

Urinalysis can be used to determine which organisms have caused the infection. If a venereal disease is suspected, blood tests will be performed. An ultrasound of the inflamed testicle can determine whether orchitis or testicular torsion is present, another painful condition of the testicle in which the spermatic cord is twisted around the testicle.

Treatment of orchitis

Orchitis is usually treated with an antibiotic. The pain can be relieved with anti-inflammatories. Furthermore, the pain and swelling can be controlled by:

  • bed rest
  • use a special bandage (a cotton pad) to raise the scrotum;
  • ice packs and cold compresses.

Furthermore, any underlying causes must be adequately treated.

Prognosis

In general, most cases of viral orchitis and antibiotic-treated bacterial orchitis will heal well without complications. Possible complications that may occur include:

  • Shrinkage (atrophy) of the affected testicle.
  • Decreased fertility, or rarely sterility
  • Return of the complaints.
  • Scrotal abscess.

Prevention

Take the following measures to prevent ball inflammation:

  • Make sure your child is vaccinated against mumps. The mumps vaccine, together with the measles and rubella vaccines, is included in the MMR (Mumps, Measles, Rubella) vaccine.
  • Practice safe sex, to help protect against STDs that can cause bacterial orchitis.

Notes:

  1. RIVM. Mumps, what else do we know about it? http://www.rivm.nl/infectionsbulletin/bul124/bof.html
  2. Swerdlow AJ, Huttly SR, Smith PG. Testicular cancer and antecedent diseases. Br J Cancer. 1987;55:97-103.
  3. SE van Brummelen, E. de Vries, PM Schneeberger, RS van Binnendijk, P. Lestrade and PC Wever. Two patients with mumps. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2006;150:1732-5

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  • Testicular torsion: symptoms and causes of twisted testicle
  • Epididymitis and testicle inflammation: symptoms and causes
  • Symptoms of conditions/pain/complaints testicle/testicle/scrotum
  • Testicle pain: causes of testicle pain (groin/lower back)