Epididymitis is a medical condition where the epididymis becomes inflamed. This condition may be mildly or very painful. Antibiotics may be needed to control a component of infection. more...
Epididymitis can be hard to distinguish from testicular torsion. Sometimes, both can occur at the same time. Tests are needed to distinguish chronic epididymitis from a range of other disorders that can cause constant scrotal pain. These include: testicular cancer, enlarged scrotal veins (varicocele) or a cyst within the epididymis. As well, the nerves in the scrotal area are connected to those of the abdomen, sometimes causing pain similar to a hernia (see referred pain). Tests may also include a physical examination and ultrasound. A urologist may need to be consulted.
Chronic epididymitis is epididymitis which lasts past the first treatment. Typically, a second, longer round of treatment is used. Chronic epididymitis is characterised by inflammation even when there is no infection present. This condition can develop even without the presence of the previously described known causes. It is believed that the hypersensitivity of certain structures, including nerves and muscles, may cause or contribute to chronic epididymitis. As a last resort, surgery may be employed.
Untreated, acute epididymitis can lead to a variety of complications. These include: chronic epididymitis, abscess, permanent damage or even destruction of the epididymis and testicle (resulting in infertility and/or hypogonadism), and infection may spread to any other organ or system of the body.
Treatment options include: antibiotics, elevation of the scrotum, cold compresses applied regularly to the scrotum, hospitalisation in severe cases, check-ups to ensure the infection has cleared up. Pain is frequently so severe as to require opiate analgesics such as hydrocodone.
This is usually caused by a secondary bacterial infection that is brought about by a variety of underlying conditions. Some cases of epididymitis are characterised by inflammation even when there is no infection. Urinary tract infections are the most common cause. The bacteria in the urethra back-track through the urinary and reproductive structures to the epididymis. It can also be caused by genito-urinary surgery, including prostatectomy, urinary catheterization, congenital kidney and bladder problems, and STDs, like gonorrhoea and chlamydia.
Acute epidiymitis has a tendency to spontaneously recur months or years after a successfully treated case.
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