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Orchitis is an inflammation of the testis, accompanied by swelling, pain, fever, and a sensation of heaviness in the affected area.


Viral mumps is the most common cause of orchitis. Bacterial infections associated with the disorder are tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. A mechanical injury to the groin area may also cause orchitis. Fifteen to twenty-five percent of males past the age of puberty with mumps develop orchitis. Epididymo-orchitis (inflammation of both testes and part of the spermatic duct) is the most common bacterial type of Orchitis. This form of the condition occurs most often in sexually active males fifteen years and older, and in men over 45 with enlarged prostates.

Causes and symptoms

The people most susceptible to orchitis are those with inadequate mumps inoculation and, in the case of sexually transmitted orchitis, those who practice unsafe sex or have a history of sexually transmitted disease. Inadequate protection of the groin area during contact sports or other potentially harmful physical activities may result in injury leading to orchitis. Symptoms of orchitis include swelling of one or both testicles, tenderness in the groin area, fever, headache, and nausea. Symptoms may also include bloody discharge from the penis, and pain during urination, intercourse, or ejaculation.


In most cases, Orchitis can be diagnosed by an urologist, general practitioner, or emergency room physician. Diagnosis is usually based on the results of a physical examination and patient history. Other testing may include a urinalysis and urine culture, screening for chlamydia and gonorrhea, ultrasound imaging, or blood tests.


Elevation and support of the scrotum, and the application of cold packs to the groin area give some relief from the pain of orchitis. Medication for pain such as codeine and meperidine may be given. Only the symptoms of viral mumps orchitis are treated. Antibiotics are used to alleviate orchitis that is bacterial in origin. Sexually transmitted orchitis (especially when resultant from chlamydia or gonorrhea) is often treated with the antibiotic Ceftriaxone in conjunction with azithromycin or doxycycline.

Alternative treatment

For relief from swelling, the drinking of dandelion tea is recommended in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Another traditional Chinese treatment for swelling is the application of a poultice of ground dandelion and aloe to the affected area. Homeopathic remedies to reduce swelling include apis mel, belladonna, and pulsatilla. Consult a homeopathic physician before taking or administering these remedies to ensure safe and correct dosage.


Orchitis is usually unilateral and lasts between one and two weeks. Atrophy of the scrotum occurs in 60% of orchitis cases. However, hormonal function is not affected and resulting sterility is rare from mumps.


Keeping mumps inoculations current and diligently practicing safe sex are the best ways to prevent orchitis from occurring. For males involved in contact sports or other potentially harmful physical activities, the wearing of a protective cup over the genitals will help guard against mechanical injuries that could lead to orchitis.



Rodriguez, Rod. "Acute Scrotum Due to Epididymo-Orchitis in Male Children." Impotence & Male Health Weekly Plus February 1999.


Mycyck, Mark, MD. "Orchitis from Emergency Medicine/Genitourinary." Emedicine, Instant Access to the Minds of Medicine. February 2001. http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic344.htm.

Key terms

Atrophy — A wasting away or withering.
Epididymo-orchitis — Inflammation of both the testes and a part of the spermatic duct system.
Unilateral — Affecting only one side.
Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


inflammation of a testis. Orchitis is not a common disorder, but it can occur in a variety of infectious diseases, including syphilis, tuberculosis, glanders, leprosy, and certain of the parasitic diseases. It usually accompanies epididymitis. Acute orchitis may also occur in such diseases as typhoid fever, pneumonia, or mumps in adult males. The symptoms of acute orchitis are swelling of one or both testes with pain and sensitivity to touch. In chronic orchitis there is no pain but the testes swell slowly and become hard. adj., adj orchit´ic.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.


Inflammation of the testis.
Synonym(s): orchiditis, testitis
[orchi- + G. -itis, inflammation]
Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


Inflammation of one or both of the testes, often occurring as a result of mumps or other infection, trauma, or metastasis.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Orchiditis Urology Testicular inflammation Etiology Infections–
eg, mumps, brucellosis, STDs–gonorrhea or chlamydia, polyarteritis nodosa, in conjunction with infections of the prostate or epididymis
McGraw-Hill Concise Dictionary of Modern Medicine. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


Inflammation of the testis.
Synonym(s): testitis.
[orchi- + G. -itis, inflammation]
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing © Farlex 2012


Inflammation of the testicle. This occurs in at least 20% of men who contract mumps after puberty. Apart from this, the condition is rare. The affected testicle is swollen, exquisitely tender and acutely painful and there is usually high fever. The condition settles in 3 to 7 days. Orchitis may be followed by atrophy of the testicle, but sterility is uncommon unless both are affected. There is no specific treatment for orchitis.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
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A study to assess the prevalence of chronic testicular pain in post-vasectomy men compared to non-vasectomised men.
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Due to the progressive testicular pain, general surgery was consulted for a right sided inguinal hernia.
(1,2) Patients most commonly present with testicular pain, a high-riding testicle with a possible horizontal lie, and an absent cremasteric reflex on the affected side.
Other presentations are infertility, testicular pain after gastroenteritis and acute scrotal pain resembling testicular torsion.
BOA head of professional development Kelston Chorley said: "Having a wallet in your front trouser pocket when driving can give rise to reduced groin circulation and can lead to testicular pain and groin problems."
Over the years, a vast number of men have reported experiencing unexplained sexual side effects, including impotence, erectile dysfunction, lower sex drive, infertility, testicular pain and genital shrinkage.
A 54 year-old male farmer was referred by his GP to our radiology department for a scrotal ultrasound to investigate a two week history of right testicular pain and swelling.

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