Orchitis is inflammation of one or both testicles in men, usually caused by an infection.
Orchitis can result from the spread of bacteria through the blood from other locations in your body. It also can be a progression of epididymitis, an infection of the tube that carries semen out of the testicles. This is called epididymo-orchitis.
The medical term — acne vulgaris — captures the condition pretty well: an ugly, vulgar scourge that ravages the faces of many unfortunate adolescents. Acne can leave lifelong scars, both physical and emotional. However, it’s something that most guys assume is behind them once they hit their twenties.
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Bacteria that commonly cause orchitis include Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus, and Streptococcus. A prostate infection may occur in conjunction with orchitis. Epididymitis (inflammation of the tube on the back of the testicle) can lead to orchitis, as well.
Bacteria that cause sexually transmitted diseases (STD), such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis, can cause orchitis in sexually active men, usually aged 19-35 years. You may be at risk if you have many sexual partners, are involved in high-risk sexual behaviors such as unprotected sex, if your sexual partner has had an STD, or if you have a history of STDs.
The virus that causes mumps can cause orchitis, as well. Most common in young boys (rare in boys younger than 10 years), orchitis begins four to six days after mumps begins. A third of boys with mumps will develop orchitis and end up with a condition called testicular atrophy (shrinking of the testicles). That’s why it is so critical for all children, boys especially, to have shots to protect them from getting the childhood disease of mumps.
You may be at risk for non-sexually transmitted orchitis if you haven’t had proper vaccination against mumps, if you get urinary tract infections, if you are older than age 45, or if you frequently have a catheter placed into your bladder.
With orchitis, you may have a rapid onset of pain in one or both testicles that may spread to the groin.
One or both of your testicles may appear tender, swollen, and red or purple.
You might have a "heavy feeling" in the swollen testicle.