Chronic Epididymitis

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Chronic epididymitis is a long-standing inflammation in the epididymis. The epididymis is a coiled, tube-like structure on the back of the testicle.

What is going on in the body?

Chronic epididymitis is an inflammation in the epididymis. Unlike acute epididymitis, chronic epididymitis is not caused by infection. It may be caused by overly sensitive nerves or muscles.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?

Often, the cause of chronic testicular pain cannot be determined. The risk factors listed here increase a male’s risk for chronic epididymitis:

  • past scrotal or groin surgery
  • repeated bouts of acute epididymitis
  • Symptoms & Signs

    What are the signs and symptoms of the condition?

    Chronic epididymitis causes pain in the scrotum or testicle. The pain may be on one side or both. Pain may be constant or intermittent.

    Diagnosis & Tests

    How is the condition diagnosed?

    Diagnosis of chronic epididymitis begins with a history and physical exam. An ultrasound of the scrotum is often done to rule out other conditions.

    Prevention & Expectations

    What can be done to prevent the condition?

    Because the exact cause is not known, prevention is hard. Preventing acute epididymitis may reduce the risk. Acute epididymitis is often a sexually transmitted disease, or STD. Using safer sex can help prevent STDs. However, some men get chronic epididymitis without having these risk factors.

    What are the long-term effects of the condition?

    Chronic epididymitis may cause chronic pain. However, it has no other serious long-term effects.

    What are the risks to others?

    Chronic epididymitis is not contagious. It poses no risk to others.

    Treatment & Monitoring

    What are the treatments for the condition?

    Chronic epididymitis can be treated in these ways:

  • injections of steroids or local anesthetics along a nerve
  • muscle relaxing agents, to reduce muscle tension in the area between the scrotum and anus
  • neuromodulating agents, which are medicines used to fix faulty nerve function in the groin area
  • nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen
  • removal of the epididymis
  • warm baths once or twice a day
  • What are the side effects of the treatments?

    Medicines used to treat chronic epididymitis can cause stomach upset or allergic reactions. Surgery can cause bleeding, infection, or allergic reaction to anesthesia.

    What happens after treatment for the condition?

    Often, symptoms return a few months after treatment. Sometimes, the pain cannot be well controlled. Tests and exams can reassure the man that no serious disease is causing the problem.

    How is the condition monitored?

    Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.

    Article type: xmedgeneral