The epididymis is a long tightly coiled tube at the back of each testicle that stores and carries sperm.
Epididymitis is a condition where the epididymis becomes inflamed. In some cases, the testicles could also be inflamed. The condition affects men of any age but it is most common among men between the ages of 19 and 35. Epididymitis usually occurs as a result of a bacteria infection.
The symptoms of epididymitis are:
- sudden fever;
- feelings of heaviness in the testicle;
- sudden pain in one or both testicles;
- blood in the semen;
- pain during ejaculation;
- warm, tender and swollen scrotum;
- lump around the testicle;
- pain during urination;
- enlarged lymph nodes around the groin; and
- discharge from the penis.
Besides bacterial infection, epididymitis can also be caused by a sexually transmitted infection or a urinary tract infection. Treatments often include antibiotics and pain-killers; rest is also often recommended to reduce the movement of the scrotum. It is usually advised to lie down and elevate the scrotum and apply ice packs to where pain is felt. After successful treatment, there can however be a re-occurrence.
Epididymitis usually gets better with treatment and rarely results in sexual or reproductive problems for a man, however, some severe cases of epididymitis do occur.
In more severe cases of epididymitis, complications like: opening on the skin of the scrotum and abscess in the scrotum and testicular infarction (death of testicular tissue due to lack of blood) could occur.
Surgery becomes necessary if an abscess has formed on the testicles. This is done by a doctor who uses needle or surgery to drain out the pus. Surgery could also be done to remove all or part of the epididymitis when other forms of treatment have been unsuccessful. If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is important to see your doctor.