Definition of Epididymitis

Epididymitis is swelling (inflammation) of the epididymis, the tube that connects the testicle with the vas deferens.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Epididymitis is most common in young men ages 19 – 35. It is a major cause of hospital admissions in the military.


Epididymitis may begin with a low-grade fever, chills, and a heavy sensation in the testicle area. The area becomes more and more sensitive to pressure.

Signs and tests

Physical examination shows a red, tender, and sometimes swollen lump (mass) on the affected side of the scrotum. Tenderness is usually in a small area of the testicle where the epididymis is attached.


Your health care provider will prescribe medications to treat the infection. Sexually-transmitted infections require specific antibiotics. Your sexual partners should also be treated. You may need pain medications and anti-inflammatory medications.

Expectations (prognosis)

Epididymitis usually gets better with antibiotic treatment. There usually is no reduction in sexual or reproductive abilities. However, the condition may return.


David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/13/2010

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