Q. I have heard it can be a sexually transmitted disease, is that so?
A. Yes. In sexually active men under the age of 35 gonorrhea or chlamydia are the most common causes. In sexually transmitted
epididymitis, urethritis (an infection of the urethra) is usually also present but you may not experience any obvious symptoms.
Q. What else causes epididymitis?
A. Epididymitis can also be caused by urinary tract infections, infections following urinary-tract surgery, or prostatitis that spreads to the testicles.
Q. What are the signs and symptoms of epididymitis?
A. Fever with swelling, tenderness and severe pain in the testicles, usually accompanied by a discharge from the end of the penis. Should you be affected your doctor will send samples of any discharge and/or a sample of urine preferably collected first thing in the morning (the first void sample) for culture and sensitivity and blood tests for analysis. The results give your doctor the cause of the infection and the name of the antibiotic that will, in most cases, clear the infection.
Q What is the treatment?
A. Prompt treatment is important to minimize discomfort, avoid long term damage and transmission to others where the cause is a sexually transmitted organism. Antibiotics should clear up the problem. Symptoms should improve within 3 days and if they do not then your doctor may review your medication. Treatment will begin before the results of your urine, blood and swab test to improve the of signs and symptoms and to minimize complications. Because of this medication may need to be changed if the results show other antibiotics are more effective..
Q. But it's painful, is there anything else I can do?
A. To help with the pain you should rest in bed and take warm tub soaks. Pain medication will also be important. It should help you to feel more comfortable and help reduce your temperature. Hospitalization is only required if the doctor is unsure of the cause and requires further tests and observation or if the infection is extremely severe.
Q. Can I prevent it?
A. By seeking treatment for urethritis (urinary tract infection) bladder or prostate infections. Seek treatment quickly if you have some symptoms so you can prevent the infection from spreading to the testicles. Symptoms include a burning sensation when you urinate and a yellow green discharge. Q. Should I tell my sex partner?
A. If the cause of your epididymitis is a gonorrhea or chlamydia you must inform your partner so that they can seek treatment. If you have had sexual contact 60 days before symptoms of the disease then you will probably have passed the infection on. Sexual intercourse will then have to stop until the infection is cured.
Q. Are there any long term after effects of epididymitis?
A. Yes. Prompt treatment is important as it can damaged the testicles. Late treatment can result in infertility and chronic pain.