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Epididymitis

Epididymitis is a condition whereby the epididymis is inflamed. This structure is a fingerlike organ that is attached to the testicle in a C-like fashion. On its bottom part this organ is attached to the vas. The function of this organ is to help in the maturation of the human sperm.


Etiology:

The cause of this problem is usually unknown. However it is more common in patients with a urethral stricture, urethritis (inflammation), increased abdominal pressure as in pushing or lifting heavy objects and sometimes vasectomy.


Signs and symptoms:

Pain in the scrotum sometimes radiating to the lower part of the abdomen. Fever, chills, nausea and lack of appetite are other common symptoms.


Physical exam:

This reveals tender and swollen epididymis.


Lab:

Urine culture may sometimes be positive. Ultrasound may show cyst formation.


Treatment:

Antibiotics, heat, elevation of the testicles and rest will usually be very helpful. It is to be noted that acute epididymitis will take at least two weeks to resolve. If this condition becomes recurrent and chronic, after several bouts, Epididymectomy may be considered. This is surgical removal of the epididymis, done usually at a hospital or outpatient surgery. The removal of the epididymis results in permanent sterility on that side. Recovery from this procedure usually takes two weeks.