Epididymitis is a condition in which the epididymis--a tube that connects the testicle and vas deferens that stores the sperm--becomes swollen, causing pain and swelling. The condition most commonly develops because of sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia, although it can also be caused by E. coli and other bacterial infections. Men and boys of any age can develop epididymitis, but it is most common between the ages of 19 and 35. Treatment is normally quite simple.
Epididymitis is caused by an infection that can be treated with antibiotics. Your doctor will likely prescribe a course of antibiotics lasting at least 10 days. You will probably begin to feel better within a few days of starting treatment, but it is important to finish all the medication to prevent the infection from coming back. In severe cases, your doctor may give the antibiotics via an injection or intravenously. Commonly prescribed antibiotics for epididymitis include ciprofloxacin, doxycycline, ceftriaxone, ofloxacin and co-trimoxazole. Most medications are well-tolerated, but you may experience some mild side effects such as nausea and diarrhoea. If the infection developed as a result of an STD, your sexual partner or partners also will require antibiotic treatment. If they do not receive treatment, they could become reinfected with the STD and possible complications could develop.
In severe cases of epididymitis, a pus-filled sac may form on or near the testicle. When this occurs, drainage of the pus is usually necessary. To drain the pus, a needle is inserted into the sac to allow the fluid to be drained out. In the worst of cases, when the condition has not been promptly treated, it may be necessary to remove all or part of the epididymitis surgically.
Men who have epididymitis will need to take it easy while recovering from the infection. Make sure you are resting--preferably in bed--to allow your body to fight the infection and heal. If you are in pain or uncomfortable because of the swelling, try applying ice packs to the scrotum. You also can take over-the-counter pain relievers such acetaminophen and ibuprofen.