Orchitis is swelling (inflammation) of one or both of the testicles.
Epididymo-orchitis; Testis infection
Orchitis may be caused by an infection from many different types of bacteria and viruses.
The most common virus that causes orchitis is mumps. It most often occurs in boys after puberty. Orchitis usually develops 4 - 6 days after the mumps begins. Because of childhood vaccinations, mumps is now rare in the United States.
Orchitis may also occur along with infections of the prostate or epididymis.
Risk factors for sexually transmitted orchitis include:
Risk factors for orchitis not due to an STD include:
A physical examination may show:
Tests may include:
Treatments may include:
Getting the right diagnosis and treatment for orchitis caused by bacteria can usually preserve the normal testicle function.
If the testicle does not completely return to normal after treatment, further testing to rule out testicular cancer should be done.
Mumps orchitis cannot be treated, and the outcome can vary. Men who have had mumps orchitis can become sterile.
Some boys who get orchitis caused by mumps will have shrinking of the testicles (testicular atrophy).
Orchitis may also cause infertility.
Other potential complications include:
Acute pain in the scrotum or testicles can be caused by twisting of the testicular blood vessels (torsion), which is a surgical emergency. If you have sudden pain in the scrotum or testicles, get immediate medical attention.
All testicle abnormalities should be medically evaluated. Call the local emergency number (such as 911) or go to the nearest emergency room if you experience sudden pain in the testicle.
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.
Krieger JN. Prostatitis, epididymitis, and orchitis. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone;2009:chap 109.
MacDonald NE. Epididymitis, orchitis, and prostatitis. in: Long SS, ed. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone;2008:chap 57.