EPIDIDYMITISThe epididymis is a coiled tube that carries and stores sperm, it is located at the back of the testicle and when inflamed there is swelling and irritation causing intense pain in the testicle. It can occur in men of any age and mostly between the ages of 14-35.
There are some types of sexual behaviors that can lead to sexually transmitted disease and can make an individual be at risk of sexually transmitted epididymitis, some includes:
- Having sex with a partner who has a sexually transmitted disease.
- Having unprotected sex without a condom.
- Someone who has a history of sexually transmitted disease.
Risk factors for the non-sexually transmitted risk factors of epididymitis include:
- Someone with a history of prostate or urinary tract infections
- Someone with a history of medical procedures that affected the urinary tract, such as insertion of a urinary catheter or scope into the penis
- An individual with an uncircumcised penis or an abnormality that involves the urinary tract
- A Patient with prostate enlargement, which increases the risk of bladder infections and epididymitis
Causes of Epididymitis
The spread of bacterial infection usually causes epididymitis. This infection will often start in the urethra, prostate, or bladder.
Two main types of infection cause epididymitis:
Sexually transmitted infection (STI)
Epididymitis caused by Sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, is common in young, heterosexual men especially those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.
Cases of epididymitis that are not caused by an STI are less common.
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
Epididymitis caused by a UTI occurs in children, older men, and men who have sex with their fellow men. The following factors often cause UTIs in men:
- Enlarged prostate pressing on the bladder
- Insertion of a catheter into the penis
- Surgery on the groin, bladder, or prostate gland
There are also some more unusual causes of epididymitis:
- High doses of a medication called amiodarone, usually taken for heart rhythm problems
- Groin injury
- Structural problems in the urinary tract
- Congenital kidney and bladder problems
Symptoms of epididymitis
- A red and swollen scrotum
- Gradual pain and tenderness are usually on one side of the testicles.
- Painful urgent and frequent urination
- Discharge from the penis
- Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvic area
- Blood present in the semen
Types of Epididymitis
There are two types of Epididymitis and are both as a result of the duration in which they occur. The types include:
Acute epididymitis occurs suddenly, and pain and inflammation develop quickly. This kind of epididymitis lasts less than 6 weeks.
Chronic epididymitis develops slowly and has a duller pain. It is a long-term problem that lasts for longer than 6 weeks. Males of any age can be affected by the condition.
Diagnosis of epididymitis
Physical examination is done to examine the scrotum to check for enlarged lymph nodes in the groin and an enlarged testicle on the affected side. Rectal examination is done to check for prostate enlargement or tenderness.
Tests your doctor might recommend include:
- STI screening. It involves inserting a narrow swab into the end of the penis to obtain a sample of discharge from the urethra. The sample is checked in the laboratory for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
- Urinalysis and blood tests. Samples of your urine and blood are analyzed for abnormalities and the presence of bacteria.
- Ultrasound. Ultrasound with color Doppler can determine if the blood flow to your testicles is lower than normal which indicates torsion or higher than normal, which helps confirm the diagnosis of epididymitis.
Lifestyle and Home remedies of epididymitis
Epididymitis usually causes considerable pain. To ease your discomfort:
- The affected individual is advised to rest in bed.
- Lie down so as to enable the scrotum to be elevated.
- Apply cold packs to the scrotum
- Avoid lifting heavy objects
- Avoid sexual intercourse until the infection has cleared
Treatment of epididymitis
- Use of Antibiotics. Antibiotics are needed to treat bacterial epididymitis and epididymal-orchitis. The patient must make sure they take the entire course of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor, even if symptoms clear up sooner, to ensure that the infection is gone.
- Resting, supporting the scrotum with an athletic supporter, applying ice packs, and taking pain medication can help relieve discomfort.
- Drinking enough fluids
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications to relieve pain
- Surgery If an abscess has formed, you might need surgery to drain it. Sometimes, all or part of the epididymis needs to be removed surgically (epididymectomy). Surgery might also be considered if epididymitis is due to underlying physical abnormalities.
Complications that occur in epididymitis include:
- Pus-filled infection (abscess) in the scrotum
- Epididymal-orchitis, if the condition spreads from the epididymis to the testicle
- Rarely, it reduces fertility in males
- Practice safer sex to reduce sexually transmitted disease
- Avoiding strenuous lifting or physical activity
- Minimizing long periods of sitting