Orchitis is swelling (inflammation) of one or both of the testicles.
Orchitis may be caused by an infection. Many types of bacteria and viruses can cause this condition.
The most common virus that causes orchitis is mumps. It most often occurs in boys after puberty. Orchitis most often develops 4 to 6 days after the mumps begins.
Orchitis may also occur along with infections of the prostate or epididymis.
Orchitis may be caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI), such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. The rate of sexually transmitted orchitis or epididymitis is higher in men ages 19 to 35.
Risk factors for sexually transmitted orchitis include:
Risk factors for orchitis not due to an STI include:
A physical exam may show:
Tests may include:
Treatment may include:
Getting the right diagnosis and treatment for orchitis caused by bacteria can most often allow the testicle to recover normally.
You will need further testing to rule out testicular cancer if the testicle does not completely return to normal after treatment.
Mumps orchitis cannot be treated, and the outcome can vary. Men who have had mumps orchitis can become sterile.
Some boys who get orchitis caused by mumps will have shrinking of the testicles (testicular atrophy).
Orchitis may also cause infertility.
Other potential complications include:
Acute pain in the scrotum or testicles can be caused by twisting of the testicular blood vessels (torsion). This is a medical emergency that requires immediate surgery.
A swollen testicle with little or no pain may be a sign of testicular cancer. If this is the case, you should have a testicular ultrasound.
See your health care provider for an exam if you have testicle problems.
Get emergency medical help if you have sudden pain in the testicle.
Things you can do to prevent the problem include:
Reviewed By: Sovrin M. Shah, MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.