What are the Symptoms and Signs of Orchitis?

What are the Symptoms and Signs of Orchitis?

Orchitis is a medical condition in which one or both testicles are swollen and inflamed. This usually happens due to an infection by a bacteria or a virus. In some cases, the exact cause of orchitis can't be determined with accuracy.


A man can suffer from orchitis due to the spread of bacteria through the bloodstream from other parts of the body. The condition can also be caused by epididymitis, an infection of the tube that acts as the carrier of semen from the testicles. This condition is called epididymo-orchitis.

What are the Causes of orchitis?

There are two types of orchitis namely bacterial and viral. Described below are the causes of each of these.

  • Causes of Bacterial Orchitis

Bacterial orchitis can be caused by various bacteria, including Escherichia coli, Streptococcus, and Staphylococcus. Prostate infection may appear in combination with orchitis. In several cases, epididymitis also becomes one of the bacterial orchitis causes. Epididymitis is the condition in which the epididymis or the long, coiled tube located at the back of the testicles becomes swollen, inflamed, and painful. This tube is responsible for carrying sperm from the testicles.

Bacteria that are responsible for causing sexually transmitted diseases (STD), such as syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea, can become the reason for orchitis in sexually active men.

  • Causes of Viral Orchitis

The most common cause of viral orchitis is the virus that causes mumps. Almost one-third of the adolescent boys who suffer from mumps after puberty can also get orchitis. The condition develops about four to seven days after the mumps infection sets in. In many such cases, orchitis leads to the development of testicular atrophy. Testicular atrophy is the condition in which shrinkage of the testicles takes place along with a loss of functions.

  • Risk Factors for Orchitis

There are several factors that can lead to orchitis including:

A male with many sexual partners, engaging in unprotected sex or having sex with a partner suffering from STI or with a history of STI is at high risk of contracting bacterial orchitis. A person may be at the risk of developing non-sexually transmitted orchitis if he hadn't had proper immunization against mumps.

Bacterial or viral infections aren't the only things that can cause the condition. The risk for orchitis also increases if a person is born with congenital urinary tract abnormalities. A person who has undergone surgery that involves the urinary tract or the genitals, or has a catheter placed into the bladder frequently also has a high risk of developing orchitis.

What are the symptoms and signs of orchitis?

There are several orchitis symptoms. In most cases, the signs and symptoms of this medical condition develop suddenly. Sudden pain in one or both the testicles that may spread to the groin is the main symptom of this condition. 

The common orchitis signs and symptoms include:

* One or both the testicles appear swollen and tender, along with redness

* Visible swelling of the inguinal lymph nodes in the groin

* There appears to be a heavy feeling in the inflamed or swollen testicle

* Painful ejaculation and presence of blood in ejaculatory output or semen, which is known as hematospermia

* Painful urination and presence of blood in the urine, which is known as hematuria

* Nausea and vomiting

* High fever

* Painful bowel movement

* Pain during intercourse

* Enlarged prostate

Symptoms of Epididymo-orchitis

In the case of epididymo-orchitis, the signs and symptoms are similar. The onset of symptoms may occur rapidly or the progress may be more gradual, marked by the following:

1). There may appear pain or swelling in a localized area of the testicle for one or more days

2). The infection increases to impact the whole testicle

3). There may be pain or a burning sensation before or after urination or even during penile discharge


Orchitis requires proper medical care. If you suspect that you are suffering from this condition, make sure to consult a doctor immediately.

Diagnosis of Orchitis

There are a number of diagnostic tests that are performed to determine the presence or absence of the condition.

These include the following:

  • Ultrasound: An ultrasound of the inflamed testicle is done to determine whether the inflammation and pain are due to orchitis or any other medical condition.
  • Rectal examination: A rectal examination is done to determine if there is any prostate infection. This is an essential part of orchitis treatment guidelines because if the infection involves the prostate, the antibiotic treatment will have to continue for a long duration of time.
  • Urine test: A urine sample is tested to check for STD's or other bacteria that may be the cause behind the infection.
  • Blood test: A blood test is done to test for syphilis and HIV if there is any suspicion of a sexually transmitted disease.

How is Orchitis treated?

Orchitis or the inflammation of one or both testicles is a serious condition. If left untreated, it can lead to shrinkage of testicles and even infertility in men. As such, orchitis must be treated at the earliest and with proper care.

Orchitis treatment is a two-step process that involves diagnosis and medication.

What is the treatment for orchitis?

Treatment in most cases of orchitis requires administering antibiotics along with anti-inflammatory medications and cold packs. Complete recovery from orchitis may take several weeks, regardless of the cause of inflammation.

In most cases, doctors advise patients suffering from this condition against indulging in sexual intercourse and lifting heavy objects while they are getting treated and recovering from orchitis.

Generally, full recovery from orchitis is possible if the treatment starts before the condition reaches an extreme stage. The doctor may also ask the patient to undergo a re-evaluation at the end of the treatment so as to be sure that the condition has been fully cured.