Epididymitis and Orchitis: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

The male reproductive system

Epididymitis is pain and swelling of the tube (epididymis) that attaches to each testicle. Orchitis is pain and swelling of the testicle. Infection with bacteria often causes these conditions. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) also can cause both conditions, especially in men younger than 35. Other causes in boys and older men are infections from surgery or from a catheter that drains urine. The mumps virus also can cause orchitis.

Pain medicine or anti-inflammatory medicines can help with discomfort. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections that cause these conditions. Antibiotics do not help and are not used if a virus caused your infection. Your testicle may stay swollen for several days or even a few weeks.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
  • Ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter pain medicine, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), or naproxen (Aleve). Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
  • Limit your activity to what is comfortable.
  • Wear snug underwear or an athletic supporter to help reduce pain.
  • Apply either cold or heat to the swollen area, whichever relieves the pain best. Sitting in a warm bath for 15 minutes twice a day will help reduce the swelling more quickly.
  • If you have been told that an STI may have caused your condition, do not have sex until your doctor says it is safe. This will prevent spreading the infection. Tell your sexual partner or partners that they need to be checked and possibly treated.

When should you call for help?

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your pain gets worse.
  • You have a new or higher fever.
  • You have new or more swelling of your testicle.
  • You have new belly pain, or your pain gets worse.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: August 12, 2016