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Sexual and Reproductive Health


Epididymo-orchitis is a swelling of the testicles and the tube next to the testicle(s) that stores sperm (epididymis).

How do I get epididymo-orchitis?

You can get epididymo-orchitis from having unprotected sex (oral, vaginal, or anal sex without a condom or other barrier method) with someone who has a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also happen after bacterial infections, viral infections (like mumps), or prostate surgery.

How do I prevent epididymo-orchitis?

When you’re sexually active, the best way to prevent epididymo-orchitis is to use condoms or other barrier method, ​for oral, vaginal, and anal sex.

Don’t have any sexual contact if you or your partner(s) have symptoms of an STI or may have been exposed to an STI. See a doctor or go to an STI clinic for testing.

Get STI testing every 3 to 6 months if you have:

  • a new partner
  • more than one partner
  • anonymous partners
  • any symptoms

How do I know if I have epididymo-orchitis?

Symptoms of epididymo-orchitis may include:

  • testicular pain, discomfort or tenderness
  • swelling of the epididymis or testicle(s)
  • redness or swelling of the skin covering the testicles (scrotal skin)
  • clear, creamy-white, or yellow discharge from the end of the penis
  • pain or burning when you pee
  • fever (temperature over 38.5°C)

If you have any of these symptoms, see a nurse or doctor right away. Only a nurse or doctor can diagnose epididymo-orchitis.

Is epididymo-orchitis harmful?

If left untreated, epididymo-orchitis can cause serious health problems. It can cause infertility or ongoing problems with swelling in the epididymis, testicle(s), or scrotum.

These effects can be prevented if you get early STI testing and treatment.

How is epididymo-orchitis treated?

  • Epididymo-orchitis is treated with antibiotics.
  • You and your sexual partner(s) must be tested and treated.
  • You can get re-infected if you have unprotected sex with someone before they are treated.
  • Start treatment right away and take all your medicine, even if you start to feel better.
  • Return to the clinic that treated you 2 to 3 days after starting your medicine to make sure you’re getting better.
  • If your symptoms aren’t better, you may need a different treatment.
  • If you lose your pills or can’t finish them for any reason, go back to the clinic where you were treated.
  • To help with pain, you can take pain medicine (like acetaminophen or ibuprofen), rest in bed, use ice packs, and wear supportive underwear.

When can I have sex again?

It will take 1 week for the antibiotic to get rid of the infection. Don't have unprotected sex (oral, vaginal, or anal sex without a condom, or other barrier method) for 7 days after you and your partner(s) have been treated. The best protection is not to have sex (oral, vaginal, or anal) for at least 7 days.

If you still have symptoms, don't have any sexual contact.

What if I still have symptoms following treatment?

Please contact your healthcare provider.

Where can I find more information?

If you have questions, need to find a clinic near you, or want more information, call Health Link at 811 anytime, day or night, to talk to a registered nurse.​

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