Signs And Symptoms Of Orchitis: Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Orchitis is inflammation of one or both the testicles. Usually, the cause is bacterial infection or the mumps virus. Bacterial orchitis occurs as a sexually transmitted infection, particularly gonorrhea or chlamydia. It results from epididymitis, an inflammation of the epididymis at the back of the testicle which stores up and conveys sperm.

The signs and symptoms of orchitis include:

  • Inflammation and swelling in one or both the testicles.
  • Tenderness in the testes / scrotum.
  • Discomfort and pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever

What Are The Causes Of Orchitis?

Orchitis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Occasionally, the cause may also be idiopathic, i.e. there is no known cause.

  • Bacterial orchitis: By and large, bacterial orchitis is due to epididymitis. Epididymitis develops because of urethral infection or bladder infection which spreads to the epididymis. The reason is sexually transmitted disease. Anomalies in the urinary tract or if you have had a catheter introduced in to the urethra, are other probable causes.
  • Viral orchitis: Viral orchitis occurs because of the mumps virus. 1/3rd of males who have had mumps after puberty are known to develop orchitis, more often than not, about one week after the commencement of the mumps.

Diagnosis And Treatment Of Orchitis

Your doctor will conduct a physical exam to check for enlarged lymph nodes in the groin and the enlarged testicle / testicles. A rectal exam may be done to assess prostate enlargement and tenderness.

Thereafter a few tests and investigations need to be done to make a correct diagnosis before starting treatment.

  • Screening for sexually transmitted diseases: A swab is introduced into the end of the penis to get hold of discharge from the urethra. The sample will be evaluated for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
  • Urine test: The urine will be assessed for anomalies and infections.
  • A sonogram will help find out whether the flow of blood to the testes is less than normal – this indicates torsion; or higher than normal – this confirms the diagnosis of orchitis.
  • Nuclear examination of the testes: A radioactive tracer will be introduced in to the blood. The tracer maps the flow of blood to the testes, and helps to determine whether there is torsion or orchitis.

The treatment regimen depends upon the cause.

  • Antibiotics are prescribed to manage bacterial orchitis. In case it is a sexually transmitted infection, the partner also requires treatment. Ensure that you follow the whole prescribed course of antibiotics, even if your symptoms get allayed, to make sure that the infection has gone completely.
  • It may take several weeks for the tenderness to fade away.
  • Use an athletic strap to support the scrotum; and apply ice packs and take pain medicines to reduce the discomfort.
  • Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs will be given by your health care provider to help reduce the swelling and inflammation.
  • Bed rest and elevating your scrotum are very vital.
  • Those who have viral orchitis experience relief in about 4 to 10 days, but it may take quite a few weeks for the scrotal tenderness to go.
  • When you lie down, make sure that the scrotum is elevated.
  • Do not lift heavy objects at all.