Medical Encyclopedia


Medical Encyclopedia

Other encyclopedia topics:  A-Ag  Ah-Ap  Aq-Az  B-Bk  Bl-Bz  C-Cg  Ch-Co  Cp-Cz  D-Di  Dj-Dz  E-Ep  Eq-Ez  F  G  H-Hf  Hg-Hz  I-In  Io-Iz  J  K  L-Ln  Lo-Lz  M-Mf  Mg-Mz  N  O  P-Pl  Pm-Pz  Q  R  S-Sh  Si-Sp  Sq-Sz  T-Tn  To-Tz  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  0-9 


Contents of this page:


Male reproductive anatomy
Male reproductive anatomy
Male reproductive system
Male reproductive system

Alternative Names    Return to top

Epididymo-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.

A.D.A.M. Logo

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2009, A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.