Testicular inflammation, which has the medical name orchitis, is one of the most common male diseases. This clinical picture is characterized by severe pain and swelling in the affected testicles. Sometimes testicular inflammation can develop into a chronic condition.
What is testicular inflammation?
According to abbreviationfinder, testicular inflammation or orchitis is one of the classic male diseases. It is an infectious disease that is usually caused by viruses. In rare cases, the disease is due to a bacterial infection. Adult men are mostly affected.
Before the onset of sexual maturity, it occurs only rarely. The inflammation of the testicles becomes noticeable through severe pain and swelling in the affected area as well as a high fever. Occasionally, the disease also spreads to the epididymis, so that epididymitis also develops.
Treatment should be quick and consistent so that the painful inflammation can subside without consequences. In particularly severe cases, testicular inflammation can cause damage to testicular tissue, which can lead to infertility.
Testicular inflammation almost always develops from another infectious disease caused by a virus. It often occurs as a side effect of mumps disease, although children usually do not suffer from it.
But other viral diseases can also be reasons for this male disease. These include glandular fever, herpes zoster, chickenpox and any infections caused by coxsackie viruses. Bacteria can also be the cause of testicular inflammation. It can therefore occur, for example, as a result of the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea or tuberculosis of the urinary bladder or ureter.
An already existing epididymitis can be transferred to the testicles and thus also trigger this painful inflammatory disease. In a few cases, the reason for the testicular inflammation is an injury to the testicles caused by external force.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
Acute testicular inflammation is characterized by swollen and painful testicles. The skin in the area of the scrotum is reddened and very warm, and it hurts when touched. A general feeling of illness can accompany this. Inflammation is often associated with fever. Those affected usually have problems voiding urine and have a frequent urge to urinate.
The pain can radiate to the groin or back. The symptoms are usually limited to one testicle. In 10 to 15 percent of cases, however, both testicles are affected by the inflammation. The first symptoms of orchitis usually appear a few days after the onset of the underlying disease. Other symptoms may appear as the disease progresses, depending on which organs are involved. Testicular inflammation often occurs together with epididymitis.
This also manifests itself in pain, disturbances in urinary retention and increasing discomfort. If the underlying disease is treated quickly, the testicular inflammation subsides after one to two weeks at the latest. If there is no treatment, other symptoms such as the inflammation spreading to surrounding organs can occur. The symptoms and signs mentioned therefore require early clarification by the family doctor or a urologist.
Diagnosis & History
The inflammation of the testicles is noticeable through severe pain in the affected testicles. He is also significantly swollen and very sensitive to touch. With a high fever, the body tries to fight the inflammation. The symptoms of testicular inflammation usually subside significantly after a week.
A diagnosis of testicular inflammation begins with a detailed complaint from the doctor. In this way, other diseases can be ruled out in advance. The doctor then carefully feels the testicles for symptoms of tenderness, swelling and redness. If the doctor decides that a testicular infection is likely, a urine test is done.
This rules out a urinary tract infection. A blood sample reveals whether viruses or bacteria are the cause of the inflammation. An ultrasound examination offers a visual representation of the inflammation of the testicles.
Testicular inflammation can cause various complications. First, there is a risk that the inflammatory processes will destroy the testicular tissue and reduce testicular function. In the case of severe inflammation, such a testicular atrophy can lead to complete infertility. It is more common as a result of testicular inflammation to form abscesses or accumulations of pus in the testicles.
Sometimes the inflammation then spreads to the epididymis and the scrotum and there is further stress on the testicular tissue. As the inflammation progresses, the risk of blood poisoning also increases. In addition, the so-called Fournier gangrene can occur, in which the tissue becomes inflamed and dies.
A urinary tract infection can also occur and, if left untreated, lead to further symptoms and complications. Another possible complication is testicular torsion. As a result of the inflammation, the testicles are misaligned and can no longer be supplied with blood. If left untreated, such a torsion leads to the death of the soft body within a few hours.
Due to the severity of these complications, if you suspect a testicular infection, you should see a doctor immediately. During treatment, the antibiotics and preparations containing cortisone that are administered can sometimes cause side effects such as high blood pressure and itching.
When should you go to the doctor?
Sufferers who experience pain in the testicles that last for several days should consult a doctor. If ejaculation does not bring about a significant improvement in the sensations in the testicles, it is advisable to have the symptoms clarified. A feeling of pressure or a pulling sensation is considered unusual and should be investigated. If the symptoms increase in intensity in the coming days or if they continue to spread, a medical clarification of the indications is necessary. Health often deteriorates within a short period of time. In the case of testicular inflammation, an increase in symptoms can be expected within a few hours or days.
If there is a fever, irritability, a feeling of illness or an inner sensation of heat, a doctor is needed. In case of dizziness, swelling of the testicles or sexual dysfunction, it is advisable to consult a doctor. Since persistent testicular inflammation can lead to a permanent disruption in sperm production and infertility, a doctor’s visit should be made in good time at the first sign of discomfort. In addition, the pathogens are considered to be very contagious, so that rapid medical care is necessary. A feeling of pressure or a perception of tightness in the testicles are considered unusual and should be checked out. If you experience symptoms or disturbances of perception when moving, a doctor’s visit is also recommended.
Treatment & Therapy
After the doctor has diagnosed testicular inflammation, there is consistent and comprehensive treatment. This involves strict bed rest and cooling compresses for the affected testicle to reduce swelling. Sometimes a jockstrap is also prescribed, which serves as a bag-like support device to immobilize and elevate the inflamed body part.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can relieve the pain and reduce the infection a bit. Depending on the cause of the inflammation, it is advisable to take other medications. If the reason for the inflammation of the testicles is a bacterial infection, appropriate antibiotics must be taken. If it is a side effect of a viral infection, these drugs cannot be used.
However, administration of preparations containing cortisone can help to reduce swelling of the focus of inflammation. In exceptional cases, it is too late for drug treatment of the testicular inflammation, so that an operation must be carried out. The testicle is already so massively swollen and enlarged that serious damage to the tissue is likely.
These can later lead to infertility. If this clinical picture is present with testicular inflammation, the doctor opens the connective tissue cover with small incisions.
Outlook & Forecast
The entire healing process of an inflammation in the testicles requires a lot of patience and perseverance. The entire healing process can take up to 6 weeks. Even with optimal treatment, this healing time can be expected.
As a rule, this clinical picture can be treated very well and effectively. Since this is a bacterial infection, an antibiotic is best. If the affected person does without medical and drug treatment, considerable complications can occur. The inflammation can sometimes spread throughout the body, causing pus to form. In this context, there is a risk of an abscess that requires medical attention. Otherwise there is a risk of blood poisoning, which in the worst case can lead to death.
Normally, the outlook and prognosis for inflammation of the testicles looks positive and confident. A timely and complete recovery is the rule. However, in some cases, complications can occur that should be treated medically. In order to positively influence the prospect and prognosis of a quick and uncomplicated healing, medical and drug treatment should be resorted to in the case of testicular inflammation.
Preventive measures against testicular inflammation are limited. Since this male disease is usually a side effect of another disease, an attempt should be made to protect yourself from the disease that caused it. This includes early vaccination against mumps and timely drug treatment of relevant viral diseases. Furthermore, to prevent testicular inflammation during sexual intercourse with changing partners, a condom should not be dispensed with.
Follow-up care for inflammation of the testicles consists in observing bed rest until the local inflammation disappears and the temperature decreases. In order to reduce possible complications such as infertility or a chronic pain syndrome to a minimum, the prescribed tablet intake is absolutely necessary. Gentle cooling of the testicles with cooling pads may alleviate the symptoms somewhat. In some cases, an ointment is applied to the testicles for the first few days and a scrotal bandage is applied to hold them in place.
As a rule, follow-up care should be completed within a few weeks. If there is no improvement after this time, the attending doctor must be contacted and a new diagnosis must be carried out. Especially with long-lasting swelling and tenderness, the possibility of tuberculosis, testicular cancer or other diseases must be considered.
Those affected whose inflammation was caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae must inform their sexual partners about the presence of the disease. If symptoms also appear within 60 days after the person concerned has been diagnosed with symptoms, a medical examination with subsequent treatment is essential.
Until the infection has been clarified and all sexual partners have completely healed, they must completely refrain from sexual intercourse. As part of a microbiological examination, the doctor can determine whether there is still an increased bacterial load or whether healing is complete.
You can do that yourself
Testicular inflammation is a serious condition and should always prompt a doctor’s consultation. But the patient himself also has a major influence on the course of the disease. However, if the patient’s general condition is poor, he should be hospitalized and treated with antibiotics or antivirals under constant medical supervision.
In most cases, however, patients can stay at home. There they then have to keep the testicles still and cool them by elevating them. For elevation, there is a special carrying bag called a jockstrap. With the help of this carrying bag, the swollen scrotum is relieved of its own weight. During the acute phase of the disease, the patient should also wear tight-fitting underpants. Pain relief can be achieved by cooling the swollen scrotum with cold water in the form of cooling compresses. A washcloth soaked in cold water could serve as an envelope. However, the water must not be too cold. Furthermore, the patient must regularly take the anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and antibiotic medications prescribed by the doctor.
Even if the treatment can largely be carried out by the patient himself, constant medical monitoring is necessary. The urologist should check the course of the inflammation of the testicles at regular intervals by means of palpation and ultrasound examinations in order to detect possible abscess formation in good time.