Inflammation of the Testicle (Orchitis)
Facts and Definition of Orchitis (Testicle Inflammation)
- Orchitis is an inflammatory condition of one or both testicles in males, generally caused by a viral or bacterial infection.
- Most cases of orchitis in children are caused by infection with the mumps virus.
- Orchitis caused by a bacterial infection most commonly develops from the progression of epididymitis, an infection of the tube that carries semen out of the testicles. This is called epididymo-orchitis.
- The majority of cases of mumps orchitis occur in prepubertal (less than 10 years old) males, while most cases of bacterial orchitis occur in sexually active men, or in men older than 50 years of age with benign prostatic hypertrophy.
Orchitis in children most commonly occurs as a result of a viral infection.
The virus that causes mumps is most commonly implicated as the cause of orchitis.
Approximately one third of boys will develop orchitis from mumps infection.
It is most common in young boys, and testicular inflammation typically develops 4-6 days after the onset of mumps.
There are case reports of mumps orchitis occurring after immunization with the mumps, measles, and rubella (MMR) vaccine, but this is rare.
Other less common viral organisms which can cause orchitis include varicella, coxsackievirus, echovirus, and cytomegalovirus (associated with infectious mononucleosis).
Less commonly, orchitis can be caused by a bacterial infection. Generally speaking, most cases of bacterial orchitis occur from the progression and spread of epididymitis (inflammation of the coiled tube on the back of the testicle), either from a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or from a prostate gland/urinary tract infection. This condition is termed epididymo-orchitis.
Bacteria that can cause orchitis from prostate gland/urinary tract infections include Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus and Streptococcus species.
Bacteria that cause sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, can cause orchitis in sexually active men, typically between the ages of 19-35 years. People may be at risk if they have many sexual partners, are involved in high-risk sexual behaviors, if their sexual partner has had an STD, or if the person has a history of STDs.
Individuals may be at risk for non-sexually transmitted orchitis if they have not been immunized against mumps, if they get frequent urinary tract infections, if older than 45 years of age, or if they frequently have a catheter placed into their bladder.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/4/2017
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