What is Epididymitis and Epididymo-orchitis?

What is Epididymitis and Epididymo-orchitis?

Epididymitis is where a tube at the back of the testicles (balls) becomes swollen and painful. Orchitis is an inflammation of the testicles. The epididymis carries and stores sperm and when this becomes swollen it can lead to pain and swelling in the testicles which is called epididymo-orchitis. It’s most common in men under 35 years old and is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea.

What are the symptoms (signs) of Epididymitis?

What are the symptoms (signs) of Epididymitis?

Symptoms of epididymitis may begin by being mild, however if left untreated they will become more severe. Symptoms include:

  • sudden or gradual pain in one or both of your testicles (balls)
  • the bag of skin containing your testicles (scrotum) feeling tender, warm and swollen, sometimes with some redness.
  • a build-up of fluid around your testicle that feels like a lump or swelling

You may also experience other symptoms depending on the cause – for example, difficulty or pain when peeing, a white, yellow or green discharge from the tip of the penis or pain during sexual intercourse and ejaculation.

Treatment for Epididymitis and Epididymo-orchitis

Treatment for Epididymitis and Epididymo-orchitis

Treatment for epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis is with antibiotics. You should start to feel better after 2 or 3 days but it can take longer to fully recover. You need to make sure that you take the complete course of antibiotics even if you are feeling better. There are also some things that you can do to make yourself feel a bit more comfortable during this time such as taking painkillers like ibuprofen, holding a cold pack or some frozen peas wrapped in a towel against the inflamed area and wearing underwear that supports your scrotum (balls).

What should I do if I think I have Epididymitis?

What should I do if I think I have Epididymitis?

If you think you have edpididymitis, you should visit your GP for a check up.  The doctor or nurse  will need to do some tests to find out the cause of the infection. They may also refer you to one of our sexual health clinics for more tests. These may include a groin genital examination, a swab from the urethra (the tube that carries pee out of the body), urine and blood tests. This may sound embarrassing, but our staff do this sort of thing every day and will make you feel comfortable.

How can I avoid getting Epididymitis?

How can I avoid getting Epididymitis?

Most people get epididymitis from a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea, although less frequently it can be as a result of a urinary tract infection, an enlarged prostate gland or a catheter.

You can help to avoid catching a sexually transmitted infection by using condoms for vaginal, anal or oral sex, by covering sex toys with a condom and by changing condoms if you change partners or share sex toys.

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Accessing our service during the COVID pandemic

How to access our service:

We have now implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. This system will be in place for the duration of the pandemic. Please contact our services to access this triage system. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus please do not attend the clinic. Clear advice for people with symptoms of coronavirus is available at nhs.uk/coronavirus .

Advice from our service:

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception during this pandemic here.

More details on the fitting of LARCs (coils and implants) at our service can be found here

If you need the combined contraceptive pill please try (if you can) to get updated measurements of your height, weight and blood pressure before calling us.

There is also specific advice on coronavirus available for People Living with HIV here, and for pregnant women here

Self-requested Sexual Health screening by post is available for for under 25s only - more info here

For others with testing requirements please contact the service on 0300 303 3989.

Alternative provision:

Please be aware that we may have to cancel, rearrange or shut clinical services in response to changing clinical and staffing pressures created by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - at your local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV postal testing - available to at-risk groups for a small fee -  more info
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info