Orchitis is an inflammation of one or both testis, accompanied by swelling, pain, fever, and a sensation of heaviness in the affected area. Viral mumps is the most common cause of orchitis. Bacterial infections associated with the disorder are tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. A mechanical injury to the groin area may also cause orchitis. Fifteen to twenty-five percent of males past the age of puberty with mumps develop orchitis. Epididymo-orchitis (inflammation of both
testis and part of the spermatic duct) is the most common bacterial type of Orchitis. This form of the condition occurs most often in sexually active males fifteen years and older, and in men over 45 with enlarged prostates.
In many cases, it will turn out that you haves mumps infection. The virus which causes this spreads from the swollen saliva glands through the bloodstream to the testis. In some cases, infection due to bacteria spreads from somewhere else in the urinary system. Inflammation of the testicle can certainly occur when there is infection in the bladder. It may also occur following infection in the prostate gland which surrounds the tube (urethra) as it leaves the bladder to enter the penis. Inflammation of the testicle can also occur when there is a venereal disease, but this accounts for a relatively small proportion of cases. Often no particular infection can be identified anywhere else in the body.
Mumps infection is caught as an infectious virus disease. Why only some boys or men develop involvement of the testes is not known. In men over 50 years of age who may also have prostate enlargement the infection may have spread from infected urine. In younger men urethral infection may be the cause. Often no predisposing cause is evident and no particular germ can be identified. When infection of the testicle occurs in boys, investigations are always undertaken to ensure that there is no urinary tract abnormality. Such abnormalities increase the likelihood of any infection occurring.
The people most susceptible to orchitis are those with inadequate mumps inoculation and, in the case of sexually transmitted orchitis, those who practice unsafe sex or have a history of sexually transmitted disease. Inadequate protection of the groin area during contact sports or other potentially harmful physical activities may result in injury leading to orchitis. Symptoms of orchitis include swelling of one or both testicles, tenderness in the groin area, fever, headache, and nausea. Symptoms may also include bloody discharge from the penis, and pain during urination, intercourse, or ejaculation.
Unless the orchitis is obviously caused by mumps, a urine test is taken to look for infection. A long course of antibiotics and initially bed rest will be prescribed for you. Support for the scrotum (such as an athletic support) and regular painkillers are both helpful. The acute symptoms will take 3 to 4 days to subside. If improvement does not occur, the urologist may arrange for a scan to ensure that an abscess has not formed. Most cases can be managed at home, but if there is a high fever and urinary infection, hospital admission is indicated. Elevation and support of the scrotum, and the application of cold packs to the groin area give some relief from the pain of orchitis. Medication for pain such as codeine and meperidine may be given. Only the symptoms of viral mumps orchitis are treated. Antibiotics are used to alleviate orchitis that is bacterial in origin. Sexually transmitted orchitis (especially when resultant from chlamydia or gonorrhea) is often treated with the antibiotic Ceftriaxone in conjunction with azithromycin or doxycycline.
For relief from swelling, the drinking of dandelion tea is recommended in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Another traditional Chinese treatment for swelling is the application of a poultice of ground dandelion and aloe to the affected area. Homeopathic remedies to reduce swelling include apis mel, belladonna, and pulsatilla. Consult a homeopathic physician before taking or administering these remedies to ensure safe and correct dosage.