Doctor's Notes on Inflammation of the Testicle (Orchitis)
Inflammation of the testicle (also termed orchitis) is an inflammatory condition of one or both testicles in males, usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Signs and symptoms may range from mild to severe in one or both testicles and may have a rapid or gradual onset of pain and swelling in one or both testicles.
Other signs and symptoms are
- testicular redness,
- fever and chills,
- body aches, and
- pain with urination.
It most commonly occurs in young boys as a result of viral infection (usually the mumps virus) although it may occur in some adult males. The mumps virus causes most cases of orchitis, but other viruses such as varicella, coxsackievirus, echo virus, and cytomegalovirus also can cause the disease. Less commonly, bacteria cause the disease. The bacteria can come from a prostate gland infection, urinary tract infection, or from a sexually transmitted disease. If the bacteria cause inflammation of the testicle and the epididymis, the condition is often called epididymo-orchitis. In addition, there are rare reports of mumps orchitis occurring after immunization with the MMR vaccine.
What Are the Treatments of Orchitis?
Orchitis is usually due to viral causes, so treatment is supportive care and such care includes
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,
- bed rest,
- scrotal elevation, and
- cold packs/warm packs to help reduce pain.
However, bacteria may also cause orchitis, and treatment includes antibiotics that cover for possible sexually transmitted disease-causing pathogens. The recommended antibiotics include ceftriaxone plus doxycycline or azithromycin. People who suspect they may have orchitis should see a medical care provider to rule out other serious problems like epididymo-orchitis.
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Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.