The orchitis is an inflammation of one or both testicles , in the vast majority of occasions, following a bacterial infection or mumps virus.
Bacterial orchitis can be caused by sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. It can also occur due to other disorders such as epididymitis.
It is a very painful disorder and, if not treated in time and properly, it can affect fertility. The pain in some cases can be very intense and, in addition, there is inflammation and redness of the scrotum.
Luckily, the vast majority of orchitis heals in just two or three weeks without any complications or sequelae. So far there is no specific treatment for this disorder, but there are measures that greatly relieve pain and inflammation.
What is orchitis?
Inflammation of one or both testicles is known as orchitis; the cause in the vast majority of cases is the spread of a bacterial infection from the epidymis . Although it can occur in all men, this disease is much more common in those whose ages are between 19 and 35 years.
Causes of orchitis
Regarding the causes of orchitis, they can be classified into two large groups. On the one hand, those not related to a sexually transmitted disease. And, on the other hand, those that are related to an STD.
Gonorrhea is the sexually transmitted disease that most often leads to orchitis. It is a bacterial infection that is transmitted sexually ; It spreads when semen, pre-ejaculatory fluid, and vaginal secretions come in contact with the genitals, anus, or mouth. It mainly affects young people, between 20 and 30 years of age.
It is a silent disorder , that is, at first it hardly presents symptoms. This is precisely one of the reasons why it is such a common infection. However, health complications can be serious if gonorrhea is not treated properly, even causing infertility in women.
Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease among both men and women; in the case of women, it affects the cervix or throat, while in men it affects the urethra, rectum or throat.
It is a disease that has few symptoms, so it is common for people with chlamydia not even to be aware of the disease. In the vast majority of cases, the signs begin several weeks after contracting the bacteria: a burning sensation when urinating and severe pain during sexual intercourse.
Among the different viruses that frequently cause orchitis is mumps. It is a contagious viral infection whose main characteristic is the enlargement of the salivary glands; It can also affect other organs, especially in adults. The contagion of this disease can occur through direct contact with contaminated objects, as well as through saliva or urine.
One of the most common symptoms is stiffness and severe pain in the area where the parotid gland is located ; that is, between the earlobe and the jaw.
Prostate infection occurs in a large number of cases due to bacteria that cause swelling and inflammation of the prostate gland . The most common symptoms that comprise this disorder are: chills, fever , redness of the skin, a certain degree of tenderness in the lower abdomen, and body pain.
Risk factors for orchitis
Beyond the causes of this disease, there are a number of risk factors that are interesting to know.
- Having several sexual partners and practicing high-risk sexual behaviors with them, understood as any type of unprotected relationship. As we have pointed out, sexually transmitted diseases are one of the most common causes of orchitis.
- Suffering from any type of congenital malformation of the urinary tract.
- Having urinary infections on a regular basis.
- Having undergone urinary tract surgery.
Symptoms of orchitis
In the vast majority of cases, the symptoms of orchitis occur between four and seven days after contracting the disease. In 30% of cases, within a maximum period of nine days, the disease spreads to the other testicle.
The symptoms of orchitis vary greatly between some patients and others, especially depending on the cause that has given rise to this disease. The vast majority of patients have very severe pain in the testicle , as well as blood in the semen and discharge from the penis .
Depending on the degree of orchitis affection, the patient may have a fever, as well as a very severe pain in the groin that can increase when they have sexual intercourse. In certain cases there is also pain when urinating.
Almost 100% of patients with orchitis have very swollen and tender testicles; in addition, a slight feeling of heaviness may occur .
Given the symptoms indicated in the previous section, it is important to see a doctor with relative urgency to establish a proper diagnosis and treatment. First of all, the doctor takes a history of the patient based on the symptoms that he presents, as well as his general state of health: chronic diseases, medications …
He then proceeds to perform a physical examination, in which there are three factors that can greatly help determine orchitis: prostate enlargement and tenderness, swollen lymph nodes in the groin area on the affected side, and enlargement and tenderness of the testicle affected by the disease.
If orchitis is suspected, the doctor proceeds to perform a series of medical tests to confirm the diagnosis. The most common are a blood test and a testicular ultrasound.
A testicular ultrasound is an imaging test used to examine the scrotum and determine any possible abnormalities in the scrotum. The procedure is very simple, and completely painless: the patient lies on his back with his legs apart and the doctor proceeds to slightly lift the scrotal sac with both testicles located on each side. He then applies a clear gel to the scrotal sac and moves a manual probe over the scrotum to visualize the area.
Currently there is no specific treatment to combat this disease. Thus, the most common treatment consists of the application of cold and analgesics to deal with inflammation and pain, respectively.
In addition, if it is confirmed that the infection has been caused by bacteria, the most recommended treatment is the application of antibiotics. In certain cases, the administration of anti-inflammatories and analgesics may be convenient.
The patient affected by orchitis must rest in bed and apply ice packs for several days.
Complications of orchitis
In general, 100% of patients improve without any type of complication. However, in certain cases complications of various kinds may arise.
- Scrotal abscess: a rare disease that in the vast majority of cases arises as a complication of advanced or untreated cases of orchitis. Generally, it occurs in patients with immunosuppression or diabetes .
- Chronic epidymitis: it is known as such the inflammation of the epididymis, a cylindrical-shaped structure found at the back of the testicle; it is responsible for both the storage and transport of sperm. It occurs most often in people between the ages of 14 and 35. The most common symptoms of this condition are the following: pain and swelling of the scrotum, frequent and painful urination, and pain when ejaculating.
In relation to the prognosis of patients with orchitis, in a very high percentage of cases the affected testicle recovers normally. However, if this disease occurs in children, it is common for them to suffer from testicular atrophy ; that is, the shrinkage of the testicle.
Regarding sexual relations, one of the main symptoms of this disease is precisely the pain when having sexual relations. Therefore, it is essential that the disease is completely cured in order to maintain them.
It is very important that before the appearance of pain, as well as inflammation, or any other discomfort in the testicles, a medical professional is consulted . It is very common for patients to take the position of “see if it passes” or opt for self-medication or the exclusive use of plants. Well, it is important to remember that this type of action can only bring complications or aggravation of the disease itself.
Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.