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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?

A male can get epididymo-orchitis from having unprotected sex (oral, vaginal, or anal sex without a condom) with someone who has a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It can also happen after bacterial infections, viral infections (e.g., 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 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 if you have symptoms, or every 3 to 6 months if you have:

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

How do I know if I have epididymo-orchitis?

Symptoms of epididymo-orchitis may include:

  • testicular pain, discomfort and/or tenderness
  • swelling of the epididymis and/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 he or she is 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 (e.g., acetaminophen, ibuprofen), rest in bed, use ice packs, and wear supportive underwear.

What if I still have symptoms following treatment?

Please contact your healthcare provider.

For More Information

  • Health Link – Health Advice 24/7: 811

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