Epididymo-orchitis is the inflammation of the epididymis and testicles. It is caused by spread of bacterial infection. Treatment is with oral antibiotics for an average of two weeks.
- What is it?
The inflammation of the epididymis (the tube that carries the sperm from the testes) and testicles is called epididymo-orchitis. It is caused by a spread of bacterial infection, most commonly gonorrhoea and chlamydia in young men.
If it is left untreated, it could lead to chronic epididymo-orchitis, where persistent testicular inflammation leads to recurring testicular pain. It can also lead to testicular shrinkage or testicular abscess (pus collection within the testicle).
- How do I catch it?
The infections that cause epididymo-orchitis, such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia are passed from one person to another during unprotected sex. This includes vaginal, anal and oral sex.
A urine infection can also cause epididymo-orchitis, although this is not sexually transmitted.
- What symptoms could I have?
Testicular pain and scrotal swelling are the most common symptoms of epididymo-orchitis. Some might also notice a discharge (liquid) from the tip of the penis, experience pain when passing urine and occasionally a low grade fever might be present.
- How do you test for it?
Epididymo-orchitis is usually diagnosed by a physical examination of the testicles at the sexual health clinic. In some circumstances, testicular ultrasound might also help. All patients are also offered a test for gonorrhoea and chlamydia.
You can use the service finder to find a testing service near you.
- How do you treat it?
Treatment is with oral antibiotics for an average of two weeks. If you undergo treatment, you will have a follow up after two weeks to check that the symptoms have improved.
If you are treated for epididymo-orchitis, it is really important that your partner also gets treated before you have sex again to prevent reinfection.
Once you have been treated, the epididymo-orchitis will not come back unless you have unprotected sex with someone who has an untreated infection.