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Alternative Names Return to topEpididymo-orchitis; Testis infection
Definition Return to top
Orchitis is swelling (inflammation) of one or both of the testicles.
Causes Return to top
Orchitis may be caused by an infection from many different types of bacteria and viruses. It is usually a result of epididymitis, inflammation of the tube that connects the vas deferens and the testicle.
The most common virus that causes orchitis is mumps. It most often occurs in boys after puberty, and is rare before the age of 10. Orchitis usually develops 4 - 6 days after the mumps. Some boys who get orchitis caused by mumps will have shrinking of the testicles (testicular atrophy).
Orchitis can develop in men with the rare disease brucellosis.
Orchitis may also occur along with infections of the prostate or epididymis. It may be caused by sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. The rate of sexually transmitted orchitis or epididymitis is higher in men ages 19 - 35.
Risk factors for orchitis not due to an STD include:
Risk factors for sexually-transmitted orchitis include:
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
A physical examination may show:
Tests may include:
Treatment Return to top
Treatments may include:
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Getting the right diagnosis and treatment for orchitis caused by bacteria can usually preserve the normal testicle function.
Mumps orchitis cannot be treated and the outcome can vary. Men who have had mumps orchitis have become sterile.
Possible Complications Return to top
Orchitis may cause infertility and shrinking (atrophy) of one or both testicles.
Other potential complications include:
Acute pain in the scrotum or testicles can be a surgical emergency. If you have sudden pain in the scrotum or testicles, get immediate medical attention.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call the local emergency number (such as 911) or go to the nearest emergency room if you experience sudden pain in the testicle.
Prevention Return to top
Getting vaccinated against mumps will prevent mumps-associated orchitis. Safer sex behaviors, such as having only one partner at a time (monogamy) and condom use, will decrease the chance of developing orchitis as a result of a sexually transmitted disease.
References Return to top
Nickel JC. Inflammatory Conditions of the Male Genitourinary Tract: Prostatitis and Related Conditions, Orchitis, and Epididymitis. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 9.
Mason WH. Mumps. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 245.Update Date: 9/7/2008 Updated by: Linda Vorvick, MD, Seattle Site Coordinator, Lecturer, Pathophysiology, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.