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If you're an adult male, you may have heard that getting mumps may affect your
fertility. The reason is viral orchitis, an inflammation of one or both testicles, most
commonly associated with the virus that causes mumps. About one-third of males
who contract mumps develop orchitis.
Other causes of orchitis usually are bacterial, including sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The best way to prevent orchitis is to prevent mumps and to avoid behaviors that may result in STDs.
The terms "testicle pain" and "groin pain" are sometimes used interchangeably. But
groin pain occurs in the fold of skin between the thigh and abdomen \u2014 not in the
testicle. As well, the causes of groin pain are different from the causes of testicle pain.
Most often, bacterial orchitis is the result of epididymitis, an inflammation of the coiled tube (epididymis) that connects the vas deferens and the testicle. The vas deferens carries sperm from your testicles. When inflammation in the epididymis spreads to the testicle, the resulting condition is known as epididymo-orchitis.
Epididymitis usually is caused by an infection of the urethra or bladder that spreads to
the epididymis. Often the cause of the infection is an STD, particularly gonorrhea or
chlamydia. The highest incidence of sexually transmitted epididymo-orchitis occurs in
men ages 19 to 35. Non-sexually transmitted forms of the infection may be related to
anatomical abnormalities in the urinary tract or having had a catheter or medical
instruments inserted into the penis.
Most cases of viral orchitis are the result of mumps. About one-third of males who
contract the mumps after puberty develop orchitis during their course of the mumps,
usually four to six days after onset.
A number of conditions can cause testicular pain, and some of the conditions require
immediate treatment. One such condition involves twisting of the spermatic cord
(testicular torsion), which may cause pain similar to that caused by orchitis. Your
doctor can administer diagnostic tests to determine which condition is causing your
Your doctor will conduct a physical exam, which may reveal enlarged lymph nodes in
your groin and an enlarged testicle on the affected side; both may be tender to the
touch. Your doctor also may do a rectal examination to check for prostate
enlargement or tenderness and order blood and urine tests to check for infection and
urethra. Your doctor may insert a narrow swab into the end of your penis to obtain the sample, which will be viewed under a microscope or cultured to check for gonorrhea and chlamydia.
create precise images of structures inside your body, may be used to rule out
twisting of the spermatic cord (testicular torsion) and determine increased
blood flow to your testicle, which helps confirm the diagnosis of orchitis.
involves injecting trace amounts of radioactive material into your bloodstream.
Special cameras then can detect areas in your testicles that receive less blood
flow, indicating torsion, or more blood flow, confirming the diagnosis of
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