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Epididymitis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain around the testicle. If you have pain around the testicle, it’s important to see a doctor straight away to get treatment.

What is epididymitis?

Epididymitis is inflammation (swelling) of the epididymis. The epididymis is a tightly coiled tube at the back of each testicle that stores immature sperm while they mature.

Epididymitis often occurs at the same time as orchitis, which is inflammation of the testes themselves.

What causes epididymitis?

Epididymitis is usually caused by a bacterial or viral infection, particularly sexually transmitted infections (STIs), commonly chlamydia and gonorrhea and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Epididymitis may also be caused by injury, vasectomy, or an autoimmune disease.

What are the symptoms of epididymitis?

If you have epididymitis, your testicle will be:

  • tender or painful
  • unusually warm
  • swollen or firm

You might also feel sick, with fever and chills.

If your epididymitis is related to a UTI, you might also have abdominal pain, the need to urinate often and a burning feeling when you do urinate.

If you have any pain or swelling of the testicle, you should see a doctor straight away to minimise the risk of complications.

How is epididymitis diagnosed?

Your doctor will talk to you and examine you. You might be asked to have blood tests or urine tests. You might also be asked to have an ultrasound.

How is epididymitis treated?

Bacterial epididymitis can be treated with antibiotics. Rest, anti-inflammatory drugs, ice packs and supportive underwear that elevates the testicles can also help.

If your symptoms don’t go away with treatment, you may need to see a specialist. A few people need surgery.

How is epididymitis prevented?

You can help prevent epididymitis by practising safe sex, and asking your doctor about how to prevent UTIs, if you get them regularly.

Additional information

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Last reviewed: April 2020

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