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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 Causes

Patient Comments

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.

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.

Last Reviewed 9/11/2017
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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Inflammation of the Testicle (Orchitis):

Inflammation of the Testicle (Orchitis) - Symptoms

What were your symptoms of testicle inflammation (orchitis)?

Inflammation of the Testicle (Orchitis) - Medical Treatment

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Inflammation of the Testicle (Orchitis) - Causes

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Inflammation of the Testicle (Orchitis) - Experience

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Causes of Testicular Pain and Swelling

Pain in one or both testicles may be caused by a variety of medical conditions, for example:

  • Testicular torsion (a medical emergency)
  • Testicular abscess, rupture, tumors, or blunt trauma
  • Viral orchitis (caused by an infection)
  • Prostatitis
  • Lyme arthritis
  • Medications
  • Appendicitis
  • Epididymo-orchitis (caused by sexually transmitted diseases or STDs)

REFERENCE: Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Boston: Butterworths; 1990.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Orchitis »

Orchitis is an acute inflammatory reaction of the testis secondary to infection.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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