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What is Orchitis?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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Orchitis is a medical condition in which one or both of a human male's testicles become inflamed and tender. It can be caused by the mumps virus or a bacterial infection of the reproductive system or urinary tract. Most individuals with the condition experience a number of symptoms, including testicular pain and swelling, nausea, and unusual discharges from the penis. Treatment options usually take form of home remedies and prescription antibiotics, which are readily available and can be suggested by physicians. Most cases of orchitis are relieved in one to three weeks when proper treatment is administered.

A bacterial infection known as epididymo-orchitis arises when the epididymis becomes irritated and inflamed. The epididymis is the small tube that carries sperm from a testicle to the vas deferens during ejaculation. Many types of infections can lead to epididymis inflammation, including bladder problems, urinary tract infections, and sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Viral orchitis is very common in males who contract mumps, and symptoms usually begin to show up within a few days of coming into contact with the virus. Men who have been through puberty and have not been vaccinated are the most susceptible to developing mumps and related symptoms of orchitis.

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The most prevalent symptoms associated with both viral and epididymo-orchitis are pain and tenderness in the groin, swelling of the testicles, difficulty urinating, foamy or discolored discharge from the penis, bloody ejaculate, and nausea. The condition frequently leads to excessive swelling of the lymph nodes located in the groin, causing additional discomfort and often making it difficult to walk or stand. The pain associated with the condition is usually mild, but some males experience sharp, debilitating impulses of pain that can travel from their testicles throughout their groins and legs. Without immediate treatment, men are subject to testicular atrophy and possible sterility.

An individual who believes he has the mumps or is experiencing signs of orchitis should consult his primary care physician to make a proper diagnosis and develop the correct treatment plan. Doctors can perform physical examinations and use ultrasounds to check for problems in the testicles. When viral or bacterial orchitis is determined to be the cause of a patient's symptoms, doctors usually prescribe antibiotics or anti-inflammatory drugs. Physicians often recommend that patients apply cold packs to their testicles, keep them elevated when possible, and get plenty of rest. Symptoms usually begin to ease up after just a few days of treatment, and usually go away completely after about three weeks.

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