Epididymitis, or epididymitis, can be a very painful condition due to the sensitivity of the entire area. Although it usually heals without any problems with the right therapy, it can lead to serious complications if left untreated.
What is epididymitis?
Epididymitis, also called epididymitis in professional circles, is an infection that is usually caused by viruses or bacteria and affects the epididymis. See phonejust for Immunodeficiency Meaning.
Due to the anatomical conditions, the epididymis are located just above the testicles, epididymitis can also easily spread to the testicles, so that testicular inflammation can also occur.
The symptoms of epididymitis develop quite gradually at first, so the inflammation can spread quite quickly and spread to nearby parts of the body.
Epididymitis is usually caused by bacteria or viruses. In most cases, they enter the body from the outside via the urethra and rise up the seminal ducts to the epididymis. This is also called an ascending infection.
The pathogens often originate from a bladder, prostate or urethral inflammation that spreads further in the body. In younger men, epididymitis is also occasionally triggered by chlamydia, which is transmitted through unprotected sex.
However, other possible causes of epididymitis can also be surgical interventions or a catheter. However, epididymitis can also be triggered by injury to the epididymis. This can happen, for example, as a result of an accident or kicking.
Very rarely, infection of the epididymis also occurs via the bloodstream. From a focus of inflammation elsewhere in the body, the infectious agents travel with the blood to the epididymis and trigger another infection here.
Epididymitis can also be a concomitant symptom of rheumatism in patients with rheumatism.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Symptoms of acute epididymitis are very similar to those of testicular inflammation (orchitis). The first symptoms are often pain when urinating and an increased urge to urinate. In addition, the testicles swell. The swelling can be so severe that the folds in the skin disappear completely.
Another sign is the significant warming of the affected testicle. It starts to hurt and is particularly sensitive to pressure and touch. The pain can radiate to the abdomen and groin. The skin on the scrotum begins to turn red, which is another typical sign of inflammation.
A general feeling of illness with tiredness and exhaustion develops. In some patients, there is an additional fever up to 40 degrees, accompanied by chills, nausea and vomiting. At the onset of the disease, the inflammation is well demarcated and affects only the epididymis.
If treatment is not started immediately, it is very common for the inflammation to spread to the testicles after just one day, since the two structures are very close together. As a rule, the complaints are limited to one side, in exceptional cases they can also spread to the second epididymis and testicles. Chronic epididymitis also causes the testicles to swell, but there is almost no pain. Overall, she shows few symptoms.
Diagnosis & History
The diagnosis of epididymitis is quite unproblematic after the appearance of the first stronger symptoms. Therefore, the diagnosis is made after a greenish examination and anamnesis. There is severe pain in the epididymis. These are accompanied by swelling and warmth. It is also possible that the scrotum will become red.
In worse cases, general inflammatory reactions such as chills, fever and exhaustion can also occur. The diagnosis can be corroborated by various methods. These include: blood and urine tests, ultrasound diagnostics and palpation of the testicles.
With the help of ultrasound diagnostics it can be determined whether the epididymis is already enlarged and whether an abscess has already formed.
Epididymitis usually heals completely with proper treatment. In rare cases, however, it can also extend to the second epididymis or become chronic. This can result in the affected man becoming infertile . Possible complications of epididymitis can be abscess formation or even blood poisoning.
As a rule, epididymitis is associated with very unpleasant pain. The pain from the testicles can spread to the stomach, back and legs, resulting in a significant reduction in the patient’s quality of life. In most cases, the testicles are swollen and clearly reddened.
The skin can also itch, although scratching usually only makes the itch worse. Without treatment, patients suffer from fever and pain in the extremities. The epididymitis can also cause chills or a general feeling of weakness, making everyday life difficult for the patient. In most cases, epididymitis also causes pain when urinating.
These are mainly burning and can lead to psychological problems or irritability in the patient. Epididymitis is usually treated with antibiotics. There are no particular complications. The symptoms usually disappear after a short time. The patient’s life expectancy is also not negatively affected by epididymitis.
When should you go to the doctor?
If the man suffers from swelling of the testicles, pain when urinating or unusually full scrotums, a doctor’s visit is advisable. A doctor should be consulted if there is general restlessness, increased body temperature and optical genital changes. If a diffuse pain sensation develops or if the existing pain spreads further, a doctor should be consulted. A medical examination is required in the event of a general feeling of illness, nausea and vomiting.
The self-determined intake of medication or the use of ointments is only to be undertaken in consultation with a doctor. There is a possibility of side effects and contraindications that can be avoided or reduced with optimal therapy. Complaints when performing sexual activities, a reduced libido, feelings of shame or withdrawal from the partnership can indicate a disease. A doctor is needed to determine the cause and initiate treatment.
Discoloration of the testicles or other abnormalities of the skin in the genital area should be presented to a doctor. Problems with locomotion, touch and sensory disorders and fatigue should be evaluated by a doctor. If states of exhaustion quickly develop and emotional or mental irregularities occur, a doctor is needed.
Treatment & Therapy
Epididymitis should be treated as early as possible to ensure complete healing.
First, the affected epididymis can be cooled and elevated. The entire testicle should also be immobilized. Appropriate painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken to combat the general inflammatory reactions. The bacteria that cause epididymitis are treated with antibiotics.
In the rare cases of virus-related inflammation of the epididymis, the administration of special medication against the viral disease is dispensed with. Only the therapy mentioned is used to alleviate the symptoms. In order to prevent a chronic course, care should be taken to ensure that the therapy is carried out consistently. This allows the epididymitis to heal in about two to three weeks. However, the swelling of the affected scrotum may take longer.
If the epididymitis has already led to the formation of an abscess or similar complications, surgical intervention may be necessary. Physical exertion should be avoided to support the therapy.
Outlook & Forecast
Above all, epididymitis requires a lot of patience. Even with proper treatment, the healing process can take up to six weeks. Only then does the scrotum feel normal again in many of those affected. As a rule, however, epididymitis heals well. However, some complications are possible. These can be, for example, fistulas, the local destruction of the tissue and an extension of the inflammation to the seminal and urinary tract. Occasionally, an abscess can develop in the more pronounced epididymitis. This must be eliminated surgically.
Frequent occurrence or procrastination can lead to narrowing and scarring in the vas deferens or epididymis. This hinders the transport of sperm, which can result in infertility, especially in the case of bilateral occlusion. In addition, the inflammation could also spread to the other testicles. In the case of recurring inflammations, the only thing that usually helps is surgical severing of the spermatic cord or removal of the diseased epididymis.
In more advanced stages, the testicle itself sometimes has to be removed. In addition to blood poisoning, Fournier’s gangrene is a very feared complication, which is particularly difficult in a weakened immune system. This leads to tissue death of the connective tissue strands in the affected testicle. This in turn can lead to a severe inflammatory response in the body with a very high mortality rate.
Epididymitis is difficult to prevent. People with changing sex partners should definitely use condoms, as this prevents infection with chlamydia. Other infections, such as cystitis or prostate infections, should be treated early to prevent the infection from spreading.
Therapy for epididymitis usually leads to complete healing. The patient is not further affected. Since there are no symptoms, there is no reason for further follow-up examinations. However, infection is possible again at any time.
To prevent this, preventive measures should be observed. The patient is responsible for this as part of the aftercare. He will be informed by his doctor about suitable behavior. Sexual intercourse should only take place protected. Prostate and urinary tract problems should be reported to a doctor immediately. Experience has shown that starting treatment in the early stages has the best chance of recovery.
Epididymitis takes a chronic course in some patients. Then permanent follow-up care becomes necessary. It is important to prevent complications such as an abscess or blood poisoning. Infertility can also occur. The doctor and the person concerned agree on a presentation rhythm individually.
Drug treatment to reduce pain takes place concomitantly. As part of a follow-up appointment, the doctor feels the testicles and scrotum. This is followed by a blood or urine analysis. This results in the ignition values. In certain cases, an ultrasound and x-ray may also be indicated. A detailed aftercare usually serves to discuss the question of an operation.
You can do that yourself
Epididymitis is very uncomfortable for those affected, but it heals relatively quickly. To achieve relief, the swollen testicle should be elevated. This will e.g. B. achieved by a so-called jockstrap. This jockstrap is a special carrying bag that “catches” the affected scrotum. This prevents the diseased testicle from being pulled down by its own weight and causing pain. Instead, he is exonerated.
Tight-fitting underwear should also be worn. This also gives the swollen scrotum “stability” and reduces pain. Boxer shorts or similar should be avoided in the acute pain phase. Most sufferers will find it extremely comfortable when the swollen testicle is cooled. A cold washcloth or compresses can be used. However, never use ice-cold water or even ice. This would only further damage or destroy the surrounding tissue.
Rest and a lying position with your legs elevated also have a pain-relieving effect. Sport or major exertion should be avoided during this time. If the inflammation and the associated pain are so severe that painkillers are necessary, relief can be achieved by taking ibuprofen.