Epididymitis is often an acute condition, but there are some cases where it becomes a chronic problem.
The condition affects the epididymis, a tube that runs from the testicle to other areas of the male reproductive system.
In men with epididymitis, the epididymis becomes swollen.
This inflammation can cause several side effects and symptoms.
It can also have an impact on other functions of the reproductive system.
There are several potential causes behind epididymitis, including the transmission of certain microorganisms during sexual intercourse.
However, the cause is not always easy to find in chronic conditions.
Treatment options are available but depend on finding a cause behind the epididymitis.
In this article, we look closely at epididymitis, the potential causes, and whether ejaculating may hurt the condition.
What is epididymitis?
To understand the physiological factors of epididymitis, it is important to also have a good view of the role that the epididymis plays.
The epididymis is a small tubular structure that is also described as a convoluted duct. It sits behind the testicles and connects to the vas deferens.
Sperm is produced in the testicles. Once produced, the testicles secrete the sperm into the epididymis, which then transports the sperm toward the vas deferens. From here, the sperm can then move toward the prostate, where it combines with certain fluids.
When a man develops epididymitis, it means the epididymis tube experiences inflammation. The inflammation can cause certain symptoms to develop, depending on the severity of the condition.
A few important symptoms that men should be aware of include:
- A warm feeling in the scrotum. There may also be some visible redness on the outside of the scrotum.
- Some men experience pain symptoms in the scrotum as well.
- Pain during urination may also be a sign of epididymitis. It is also possible for some men to experience an increase in the frequency of urination.
- Some men have found blood in their semen when they have this condition.
- Pain symptoms can sometimes develop in the pelvic area. There are also cases where the pain affects the lower stomach region.
What causes epididymitis to flare up?
Epididymitis can be acute or chronic. In acute cases, the symptoms generally only last for a short period until appropriate treatment is implemented. If a man has a recurrence of the symptoms, then they may have chronic epididymitis instead (1).
There is little conclusive evidence on the specific reasons why people with chronic epididymitis may experience a regular flare-up of their symptoms.
Research has suggested several potential reasons for the condition to develop initially. In cases of acute epididymitis, the condition is usually related to an infection. Both viruses and bacteria can cause infection in the epididymis.
There is also a higher risk of recurrent or worse symptoms in patients who do not start with an appropriate treatment program early on.
Overall causes behind a flareup of epididymitis and its related symptoms include:
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea, which are both types of sexually transmittable infections.
- Urinary tract or prostate infections that spread toward the epididymis.
- Trauma directly to the region.
- Cases where urine flows back into the patient’s epididymis instead of out the urethra.
Does ejaculating hurt epididymitis?
During ejaculation, semen needs to move through the epididymis toward the urethra in order to be secreted. When a patient has epididymitis, it is sometimes possible to experience symptoms when they ejaculate. This is primarily due to the presence of inflammation in the epididymis.
Certain research papers have looked at whether or not ejaculation might be a cause behind a flare-up of pain symptoms associated with epididymitis.
In one study, researchers suggest that several types of activities can worsen the symptoms that the patient experiences (1). One of the activities that the paper lists include ejaculation.
Furthermore, whether ejaculation hurts epididymitis also largely depends on the severity of the patient’s condition. Those who are more prone to a flare-up and experience the symptoms at greater intensities are generally more likely to find that ejaculating causes the pain to come back.
Should you abstain from sex or masturbation with epididymitis?
Men are often unsure if it is appropriate to continue having sexual intercourse when diagnosed with epididymitis.
The good news is that masturbation or sexual intercourse that leads to ejaculation is not likely to cause a worsening of an infection that causes epididymitis. Thus, it is generally safe for the man to ejaculate.
There are, however, some things to keep in mind. The healthcare provider may recommend abstaining from sexual intercourse but tell the patient that it is appropriate to masturbate while being treated.
Men should also consider that ejaculation can sometimes increase the intensity of the pain they experience if they have a current case of epididymitis.
Can a man pass epididymitis to his partner?
There are numerous causes behind epididymitis, so it is important to understand whether it is a condition that a man can transfer to a partner during sexual intercourse. Whether it is possible to pass epididymitis to a partner depends on the condition’s cause.
There are certain situations where the man develops epididymitis after certain sexually transmittable infections. The two most common that are associated with epididymitis include gonorrhea and chlamydia.
If the man is diagnosed with either of these STIs when he has epididymitis, then it is possible to pass the viruses or bacteria on to the sexual partner.
Epididymitis recovery tips
Prevention is an important factor when it comes to epididymitis. Common reasons men develop the condition relate to the transmission of viruses and bacteria that causes sexually transmitted infection.
Protection during sexual intercourse can provide an effective preventative method against the spreading of these microorganisms.
In cases where a man is diagnosed with epididymitis, the outlook, recovery process, and treatment procedure depend on the cause.
Antibiotics are commonly prescribed to patients with epididymitis caused by a bacterial infection. The same treatment is good if the patient has epididymo-orchitis, which is where the bacteria infect the epididymis and the testicles at the same time.
For recovery, individuals can also place an ice pack on the scrotum. This can help to provide some relief for the pain symptoms they experience. It has also been found that certain medications can help in the management of epididymitis symptoms, which is especially useful in chronic cases.
It is also important to avoid lifting heavy objects while recovering from the condition. Athletic supporters are also good options for people who experience symptoms throughout the day.
Studies also suggest (2) that the use of analgesics can assist in reducing the amount of pain the patient experiences when they are recovering from epididymitis.
Epididymitis is a condition that affects the reproductive system. It can result in painful symptoms, as well as tenderness in the area.
During ejaculation, it is sometimes possible for epididymitis to cause a flare-up of the symptoms that a man experiences.
While it is not necessary to abstain from sexual intercourse, it is important to understand what treatment options are available. Appropriate treatment may reduce the soreness during ejaculation. In chronic epididymitis, there are also management strategies that may assist in reducing the frequency of flare-ups.