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Epididymitis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis, which connects the testicle to the prostate. It is often caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) but can also have other causes.

What is epididymitis?

By definition, epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis . Conduit connecting the testicle to the prostate, the epididymis is an essential structure of the male reproductive system. Although there are two epididymides, an acute epididymitis usually affects only one.

If chronic epididymitis can occur, the most common form is acute epididymitis.

It is not uncommon for epididymitis to be associated with other infections such as:

  • a urinary tract infection , which may for example manifest as urethritis, inflammation of the urethra, outlet channel of the bladder;
  • an infection of the prostate , which is manifested by prostatitis, an inflammation of the prostate;
  • testicular infection , manifested by orchitis, testicular inflammation , or orchid epididymitis, an association of an orchitis and epididymitis.

What are the causes of epididymitis?

An epididymitis is usually of infectious origin. It may be due to:

  • a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia , which is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis , and gonorrhea , which is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae;
  • urinary tract infection , especially during infection with Staphylococcus aureus ;
  • an infection of the prostate , manifested by prostatitis, which may be the consequence of a benign prostatic hypertrophy, a medical examination or even a surgical procedure in the prostate.

In rare cases, epididymitis can also be caused by tuberculosis .

Who is affected by epididymitis?

Only men can be affected by epididymitis because the epididymis is specific to the male reproductive system.

This inflammation is mainly manifested in:

  • the young man who is affected by a sexually transmitted disease (STD);
  • the elderly man who has prostate disease or wears a urethral catheter.

What is the risk of complication?

In the absence of adequate medical treatment, acute epididymitis can progress, become chronic and cause complications. This inflammation can lead to:

  • the formation of an epididymal or testicular abscess ;
  • testicular ischemia may cause infarction, necrosis or testicular atrophy;
  • an infertility .

What are the symptoms of epididymitis?

An epididymitis can manifest itself by several symptoms such as:

  • a fever high, generally above 38.5 ° C and accompanied by chills;
  • severe, intense pain radiating along the spermatic cord;
  • swelling of the epididymis, which becomes painful on palpation;
  • inflammatory signs in the scrotum that give it a red, edematous, shiny and hot appearance.

Treatments of Epididymitis

An epididymitis should be treated as soon as possible to limit the risk of complications.

The treatment of epididymitis usually involves antibiotic therapy. The choice of antibiotics depends on the germs responsible for the infection. Before the precise identification of these infectious agents, a broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy is often set up. It is then adapted to specifically target the pathogenic germs responsible for epididymitis. It can also be supplemented with an anti-inflammatory treatment.

During the first days of treatment, a bed rest period is recommended. The patient may also be advised to wear a testicular suspender or a tight brief.

The drug treatment of epididymitis usually lasts between 2 and 3 weeks. It can be prolonged for more than a month during severe forms. In rare cases, surgery may be necessary.

As a precaution, the diagnosis of an epididymitis involves:

  • sexual abstinence or condom use until total healing;
  • screening and treatment of the partner;

performing screening tests for different STIs.

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