Orchitis is characterized by inflammation in one or both testicles in males. It usually occurs due to an infection caused by bacteria or viruses. It can spread when bacteria enters the blood from other parts of the body. It can also occur due to epididymitis, which is an infection that develops in the tube that transports semen out of the testicles. This is known as epididymo-orchitis. Orchitis is also commonly associated with the virus that is responsible for mumps. Studies show that one third of males who develops mumps after puberty go on to develop orchitis.

Symptoms of Orchitis

Orchitis results in pain in one or both testicles. The pain develops rapidly and may also spread to the groin region. Swelling and redness may occur in the testicles and they are also likely to feel sore and tender. In some cases you may notice the presence of blood in the semen. Some of the other symptoms of orchitis include pain during urination, discomfort during bowel movements, pain in the groin, pain during sexual intercourse or ejaculation and a feeling of general illness. Some men also experience bouts of vomiting. In case of epididymo-orchitis, the symptoms occur gradually and also progress in a gradual manner. The pain and swelling caused by orchitis may last for only a day or may persist for several days. In later stages, the infection may spread through the entire testicle. Penile discharge may also occur in some cases. The symptoms may sometimes be severe enough to hamper daily functioning, as simple tasks such as walking may become difficult.

Orchitis caused by bacterial infection requires medical treatment. The course of medication involves antibiotic treatment. It is important to consult a doctor immediately when symptoms such as pain, redness, inflammation and swelling are noticed in one or both testicles. It is also important to notify your doctor if the symptoms seem to worsen in spite of antibiotic treatment.

Causes of Orchitis

Orchitis is known to occur due to various causes. When the condition is transmitted through non-sexual contact, the causes generally include congenital abnormalities of the urinary tract or not having undergone immunization against mumps. Men above the age of 45 years are also more prone to developing orchitis. Those who suffer from recurring urinary tract infections are also at risk for this condition.

Orchitis often develops due to high risk sexual behaviors. This can result in sexually transmitted diseases or STDs including sexually transmitted orchitis. Having multiple sexual partners, practicing unprotected sexual intercourse and having sexual intercourse with a partner affected with an STD can all increase the risk of orchitis. Individuals who have a personal history of STDs may also be vulnerable to developing the condition.

Bacteria and viruses can be responsible for orchitis. The bacteria that are known to result in infection of the testicles include staphylococcus, streptococcus and E coli. Infection of the prostate may also develop along with orchitis. Bacteria that are responsible for causing sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are also known to cause orchitis in males who are sexually active. Men belonging to the age group of 19 to 35 years may be more at risk. Young boys may develop orchitis about 4 to 6 days after they get mumps. In some cases, boys who develop orchitis after mumps may suffer from testicular atrophy wherein there is shrinking of testicles. Therefore it is highly essential for children to undergo immunization for mumps. Individuals who have a catheter placed in the bladder may also be at risk for orchitis.

Epididymo-orchitis is likely to occur when the bacteria responsible for causing urinary infections enters the epididymis. This can occur at any age and is considered to be the most common cause for this condition in males above the age of 35 years. This is because there may be a partial blockage of urine flow as men increase in age due to narrowing of the urethra or due to enlargement of the prostate. When the flow or urine is partially blocked, the risk of developing urine infections increases. Epididymo-orchitis due to urine infection can also occur in young boys. Some of the less common causes of epididymo-orchitis include viral infections from other areas of the body. In such cases, the infection may reach the testes through the blood. Infections such as brucellosis and tuberculosis may be associated with epididymo-orchitis. The risk of this is higher in individuals who have a weak immune system.

Remedies for Orchitis

Orchitis is diagnosed through a physical exam, which may show enlargement or tenderness of the prostate gland, enlargement of the lymph nodes in the groin region, and enlargement of the testicle in the affected side. Other tests for orchitis diagnosis may include a complete blood count, testicular ultrasound, urinalysis, screening for sexually transmitted diseases and urine culture.

Proper medical treatment along with the right kind of home care will help in relieving the symptoms of orchitis. Pain and inflammation can be eased with the help of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. The discomfort can be alleviated by keeping the scrotum elevated. This can be done with the help of an athletic supporter or briefs that fit the body snugly. You can also make use of cold compresses such as an ice pack in order to reduce the swelling. It is important not to place the ice directly on the skin as this can cause skin burns due to freezing. It is necessary to wrap the ice in a wash cloth and then apply to the affected area. Ice packs may be applied to the scrotum at regular intervals several times a day. Allow the ice to remain for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time. After one or two days, you can reduce the frequency of ice pack application.

The extract of coccinia leaf is believed to be a beneficial treatment for orchitis. It is known to have natural anti-bacterial properties and hence helps to reduce infection. Take about ten leaves of coccinia and boil them in one cup of water so that the ingredients are extracted from the leaves. Filter the solution and consume approximately 20 ml twice daily. This treatment may be continued for a week. Herbs such as yellow duck and Echinacea are also known to be helpful in treating orchitis since they possess antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. They also boost the functioning of the immune system. These herbs are available in the form of capsules or tinctures. Some people also obtain relief from symptoms of orchitis after taking homeopathic treatment.

The main focus of treatment in case of viral orchitis is alleviation of the symptoms. Pain medications or anti-inflammatory drugs may be prescribed by the doctor. Adequate rest, ice packs and elevation of the scrotum help in easing symptoms of viral orchitis as well.

It is important to notify the doctor if you are suffering from any type of allergies or if you on any medications. In case the orchitis was transmitted sexually, it is necessary to inform the doctor regarding the type of STD you have. This will enable the doctor to administer the most effective treatment. Ensure that you complete the entire course of medication prescribed by the doctor. Even if the symptoms reduce quickly, it is essential to finish the course until the infection is entirely gone. The doctor may recommend screening for testicular cancer in case the testicle does not function normally even after treatment.

The best way to prevent orchitis is to avoid engaging in high risk sexual behaviors. The use of condoms during sexual intercourse is essential in order to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Many men with orchitis experience shrinkage of the testicle and eventual loss of testicular function. Delays in seeking treatment are likely to increase the risk of long term damage to the testicles. If orchitis is left untreated, there will be loss of fertility. The individual may also stand to lose one or both testicles. Proper hygiene is a must to prevent future occurrences of orchitis. Undergarments should be washed in warm water with mild detergents so that bacteria are removed. It is better to wear cotton undergarments to allow healing to take place properly.

Diet for Orchitis

A healthy, nutritious diet is essential in order to fight against any infection. But what are the specific foods that help to prevent orchitis? Dandelion is believed to help reduce inflammation, pain and swelling associated with orchitis. Dandelion may be consumed in the form of tea daily for at least a week. The extract of caltrop leaf is also known to be effective in treating orchitis due to its natural anti-bacterial properties. Caltrop leaves may be boiled in water and the filtered liquid may be consumed thrice every day for a week. It is also advisable to drink plenty of water so that infection in the body can be flushed out through the urine.

Suggestion for Orchitis

Orchitis may occur as a side effect of a medication known as amiodarone. Doses above 200 mg may be associated with the condition.

Orchitis - Frequently asked questions