All of the organs in the human body have a function; some of those functions are essential to one’s life and other organs are essential for reproduction of life, but not essential to the individual’s life. One such organ that is essential for reproduction is the epididymis. The epididymis is a small, curved and coiled tubular organ that is located behind each testicle. Sperm enter the epididymis in a premature state and are stored until they mature.
Causes and symptoms of epididymitis
Acute cases of epididymitis occur due to a primary infection to the body. In sexually active men, microorganisms can be transmitted during sex which could lead to the infection. Children also could be affected, when viral infections of the body attack the urinary tract and lead to infection and epididymitis. Adults can contract the trouble due to prostate infections and inflammation of the urinary tract. Trauma, strain through lifting heavy weights without wearing any protective dress, and sexual activity are some general causes that lead to Epididymitis.
Sudden pain in the testicles and groin associated with fever indicates the onset of infection in the epididymis. Marked tenderness and swelling in the testicles and scrotum which could be found by physical examination establishes the disease.
Incidents of varicose veins in the scrotum, hernia, hydrocele (swelling of the scrotal sac), testicular cancer or existence of a cyst within the scrotal sac also show similar symptoms, but a differential diagnosis will rule out such occurrences.
Diagnosis of epididymitis
Most acute cases of infection of the epididymis can be established by a physical examination. Laboratory tests conducted on a urine sample along with culture tests on the sample can establish evidence of the infection. A gram-staining of a smear collected from urinary tract and discharges from the penis can also reveal evidence of an infection. A color Doppler ultrasound scan can be used to show the pattern of blood flow to the epididymis; if the organ is enlarged and infected, the pattern of blood flow will likely be increased to the area.
Treatment for epididymitis
The doctor can order antibiotics along with pain medication to relieve the symptoms of epididymitis. The infection and inflammation will clear up with antibiotics. It is important for the person with this infection to be on bed rest. An ice pack to the area will help to relieve the pain. Never use heat to the scrotum because you could cause permanent damage to the sperm tubules. If a partner is involved with spreading an infection to the epididymis, both people should be treated with antibiotics; otherwise, the infection will just be passed back and forth.
Epididymitis is a common disease, which could be brought under control with simple treatment using pain medication and antibiotics along with bed rest. However, if neglected, the infection could lead to permanent damage to the underlying tissues of the male reproductive area. If left untreated, epididymitis could lead to sterility and abnormal forms of spermatozoa which could lead to infertility.