Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymus. The epididymus can be felt as a tubular mass in the upper part of the testis in a male. This tubular area connects the vas deferens to the testicles. This is a fairly common condition in males – most commonly in those ages 19-25 years old and it occurs in approximately 600,000 individuals each year.
While various organisms and bacteria can cause inflammation of the epididymus, the risk for this condition is higher in those males who are sexually active, but who are non-monogamous and do not use condoms. Additionally, some men seem to be more prone to abnormalities, problems and infections in the genito-urinary tract.
This condition presents swelling and pain in the testicles as the main symptoms. Both can be considerable. There may also be pain with urination and intercourse, blood in the semen, discharge from the urethra, generalized groin pain, and a fever indicating the presence of infection.
In response to the symptoms, a doctor will perform a physical examination and will notice the swelling, tenderness and possible discharge. There will also likely be swollen lymph nodes in the groin area. Tests will be performed including a urinalysis and possible blood tests, as well as other procedures to rule out other conditions.
Upon diagnosis, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics and medication. Sexual partners can be affected so they will need to be treated along with the male patient who has been diagnosed. In addition to antibiotics, a doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and pain medication.
Bed rest is a traditional treatment remedy for epididymitis, along with ice packs applied to the swollen, painful area. A follow-up trip to the doctor will be necessary to make sure that the condition has been completely treated.
There are possible complications of epididymitis, and if left untreated serious complications could result, including infertility. Scrotal pain should be seen and addressed by a doctor to prevent complications and more serious, chronic problems.
For additional information concerning epididymitis, the internet can be a great tool. The United States National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health produce an online website called Medline Plus. The medical encyclopedia page that is dedicated to epididymitis can be found online at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001279.htm. In addition to information about symptoms and treatment of this condition, there are also links to very good full color images showing how epididymitis affects the male body.