If you feel some swelling and pain in your scrotum, along with a discharge from your penis, then there is a chance you could have epididymitis.
You will often see that medical reports associate epididymitis with sexually transmittable infections.
In fact, if you present signs of epididymitis, a doctor will likely start the diagnostics process by checking if you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), or they may ask you about recent sexual encounters.
Many causes of epididymitis are indeed caused by gonorrhea and other sexually transmittable infections.
But what if you use safe sex practices during intercourse or only a single sex partner and still develop these symptoms?
Research shows that many cases are related to STDs, but these do not account for all scenarios where the patient is diagnosed with epididymitis.
There are several other reasons you may develop epididymitis symptoms.
What is epididymitis?
To understand if you experience symptoms of epididymitis, it is important to have a thorough view of what the condition is and what it entails. This way, you can differentiate between epididymis pain and potentially other reasons for the symptoms you experience.
Epididymitis refers to a condition that causes inflammation in the epididymis. This is a type of tube that connects to the testicles.
Sperm essentially matures inside the epididymitis, which means this part of the reproductive system also plays a role in storing sperm. In addition to storage, your epididymis helps transport sperm toward the prostate gland, which is then released into your urethra during ejaculation.
When you have epididymitis, you will experience inflammation in the epididymis. An infection can cause this inflammation in some situations, but this is not always the case. The inflammation that develops in your epididymis can cause unpleasant symptoms and make you feel uncomfortable.
Sometimes, the inflammation does not only affect your epididymis. For example, the infection may even cause testicular epididymitis, which leads to inflammation and infection affecting your testicles.
When you have inflammation in the testes, symptoms may feel a bit worse compared to a case where only your epididymis is affected. It is also important to note that a testicular infection is not the same as epididymitis, causing one of your testes to become inflamed.
Symptoms of epididymitis
There are several symptoms that you may experience if epididymitis causes a swollen vas deferens, epididymis, and testes. You should ensure you know what type of symptoms can be signs of epididymitis and when they may be related to something else.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that men experience if they have epididymitis:
- The scrotum is warm to the touch
- Redness and swelling at the scrotum
- There can sometimes be a discharge from the tip of your penis
- You may have tenderness and pain in your testicles (in most cases, only one testicle is affected)
- Pain when you urinate
- Increase in urination frequency
Sometimes, you may also feel some discomfort in your pelvis region. The discomfort can be felt in your lower abdomen too. There are cases where men find blood in their semen after they ejaculate. In rare cases, fever has also been reported, but this may be due to the presence of infection causing the condition.
Apart from the general symptoms, you should note that there are two types of epididymitis. This includes acute epididymitis, as well as a chronic condition.
If you have chronic epididymitis, then the symptoms will usually have a gradual instead of sudden onset. In cases of chronic epididymitis, the symptoms will remain persistent for longer than six weeks.
There are also many cases with chronic epididymitis where doctors are unable to determine what the cause behind the condition is.
Can you get epididymitis without having an STD?
When you have epididymis pain, one of the first thoughts is that you obtained an STD and now have epididymitis. You may think, “my boyfriend has epididymitis, so now I must have obtained it from him.”
There are many causes of standard and even testicular epididymitis where the patient does not have a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Two specific STDs are commonly associated with the presence of acute epididymitis. This includes chlamydia and gonorrhea.
However, if you are diagnosed with the condition, it does not necessarily mean you have one of these sexually transmitted infections. This is why it is important to consult with a doctor, as your healthcare provider can perform certain tests to identify the potential cause of the epididymitis.
Apart from this, you should note that other conditions can also cause similar symptoms to epididymitis. In these cases, vas deferens pain or swelling in the testicle tubes may be caused by an infection on the balls or perhaps even a scrotum infection. Testiculitis is another potential cause that may result in symptoms similar to epididymitis.
If you are concerned about contracting epididymitis through an STD, then it is important to have safe sex. This means using condoms and other protective measures that can help to reduce the risk of transferring gonorrhea or chlamydia.
Is epididymitis contagious?
Epididymitis is a condition that affects the male reproductive tract. It causes the epididymis to become swollen, which then leads to the accompanying symptoms.
In order to determine whether the condition is contagious, it is important to also consider what causes epididymitis. When you understand the causes of epididymitis better, it becomes easier to understand how it passes from one person to the next.
Epididymitis is an inflammatory condition that can cause an enlarged epididymis due to swelling. It is not, however, contagious on its own. You cannot transfer epididymitis from one person to another through physical interactions or bodily fluids.
If another person close to you develops epididymitis shortly following your own diagnosis, then this is not due to the contagiousness of the condition. Rather, you have to look at the underlying factors and the causes.
Additionally, since there are often no causes identified behind chronic epididymitis symptoms, this particular condition would also not be contagious.
Can you transmit epididymitis sexually?
While epididymitis is not a contagious disease, the condition can develop in a sexual partner after you have intercourse. This is due to the specific microorganisms that are often associated with the development of epididymitis.
It is possible to transmit specific infectious diseases that can cause epididymitis during sexual intercourse. In this case, it is important to note that the actual condition, being epididymitis, is not what you transfer.
Instead, the STI could potentially lead to the development of epididymitis symptoms as a complication.
What causes epididymitis?
An STD on the testicles or the epididymis is a common reason why people develop epididymitis. However, you need to understand that this is not the only cause behind the condition.
For example, UTI testicle pain is sometimes considered an event where a urinary tract infection causes microorganisms to move toward the testicles.
In this case, the microorganisms pass the epididymis, which can also cause an infection in the epididymis location. In turn, you may develop signs related to epididymitis.
A testicular or prostate infection can also lead to the development of epididymitis, even when these infectious conditions are not related to sexually transmitted diseases.
Other than infections, there are more potential reasons for developing epididymitis. Trauma to the groin has been shown to greatly increase this condition’s risk.
If you suffer a direct impact on your groin, then inflammation will trigger to assist with recovery. This inflammation can affect other parts than your groin, too, as the injury may not necessarily only affect this specific part of your body. The result here may be the development of inflammation in your epididymis.
Some men experience a condition where urine does not properly flow out of their urethra. In this case, the urine may flow backward, which causes it to enter the epididymis. If this happens, the condition is called chemical epididymitis.
There are a few reasons why this specific complication can occur. It is most commonly seen in men who lift heavy objects. Heavy weight-lifting exercises can also be a potential contributing factor.
Risk factors for epididymitis
Understanding your risk factors can help you get an idea about how likely you are to develop epididymitis. For STI epididymitis, the risks include unprotected sex. If you have a sex partner with a current STI, then your risk also increases.
For non-STD epididymitis, the risks include:
- Abnormalities in your urinary tract
- Not being circumcised
- Have an enlarged prostate
- History of infections in your prostate gland
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
Home remedies for epididymitis
There are no home remedies that will help in curing epididymitis if an infection causes it. You may need antibiotics to treat the infection that led to the development of your symptoms.
Apart from epididymitis treatments, you can use a few home remedies to help with recovery and reduce symptoms. This includes bed rest and using a pillow to elevate the region of your scrotum. Some people also find that wearing an athletic supporter helps to reduce their symptoms.
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Practicing safe sex is the best method to prevent the onset of epididymitis caused by STDs. You should also be wary of signs that could indicate other types of infections, such as a UTI or prostate infection. Get these checked out by your doctor and ensure you are treated.
Many people associate epididymitis with sexually transmitted infections. While you can get an inflamed epididymis due to an STD, this is not always the case.
The condition can affect both the testes and epididymis sometimes. Inflammation of the epididymis can also be caused by other types of infections, as well as injury that directly affects this area or the scrotum.
It is important to differentiate between what causes epididymitis and testicle infection, as the causes are not always the same. Understand the differences in terms of symptoms and know when you should see a doctor. Medical assistance can help to reduce symptoms of a swollen, painful testicle and also improve epididymitis recovery time.