What is Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral)?
Orchitis is a medical condition in which there is inflammation of the testicles. Orchitis is usually caused by some type of a bacterial infection or the mumps virus. When the Orchitis is caused due to bacterial infection like chlamydia or gonorrhea then it is called Bacterial Orchitis and if the Orchitis is caused due to mumps virus then it is called Viral Orchitis.
The root cause of bacterial orchitis is sexually transmitted diseases, especially gonorrhea and chlamydia. When this condition is caused due to epididymitis then it is called as epididymo-orchitis. This condition is quite painful and it can also cause infertility in men.
Both, Bacterial Orchitis and Viral Orchitis are treatable with medications but it may take a few weeks for the symptoms of Orchitis (bacterial & Viral) to entirely resolve.
What are the Causes of Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral)?
There are basically two ways by which an individual can develop Orchitis, one is bacterial orchitis and the other is viral orchitis. In some cases the cause of Orchitis is not known and hence it is called as Idiopathic Orchitis.
Bacterial Orchitis: This type of Orchitis is usually caused by bacteria like chlamydia and gonorrhea. These bacteria can infect an individual by way of sexually transmitted diseases. In some cases, certain individuals have abnormalities in the urinary tract at the time of birth which can cause Bacterial Orchitis. Another cause of Bacterial Orchitis may be insertion of medical instruments like catheter in the penis which can cause bacteria to infiltrate the urinary tract and cause Orchitis.
Viral Orchitis: This type of Orchitis is usually caused by the mumps virus. Approximately 30% of men who have had mumps virus after attaining puberty develop Orchitis generally a week following the onset of mumps. Some reports suggest the development of orchitis after the Mumps, Measles, and Rubella vaccine is given to young boys. Apart from the mumps virus there are other viruses that can cause Viral Orchitis but it is very rare. These viruses are Varicella, coxsackievirus, echovirus, and CMV virus.
What are the Symptoms of Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral)?
The symptoms of Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral) tend to come on all of a sudden and may include the following:
- Swelling of one of the testicles or both of the testicles is a common symptom of Bacterial Orchitis as well as Viral Orchitis
- Person suffering from Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral) experience symptoms of moderate to severe testicular pain.
- Yet another symptom of Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral) is that of testicular tenderness unilaterally or bilaterally lasting for some weeks.
- Low grade fever
- Nausea associated with vomiting
- In some cases of Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral), symptoms of pain is felt in the groin also.
How is Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral) Diagnosed?
In order to diagnose Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral), the treating physician will begin by conducting a detailed physical examination of the individual to look for any enlargement of lymph nodes in the groin area and also look for enlarged testicles. The treating physician may also perform a digital rectal examination to examine the prostate to look for any signs of enlargement of tenderness. The next step towards diagnosing Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral) is to conduct the following diagnostic studies.
- Sexually Transmitted Disease: The physician will obtain a specimen of the discharge from the urethra and send it to the laboratory for cultures to look for bacteria like chlamydia and gonorrhea. If present then it may confirm the diagnosis of Bacterial Orchitis.
- Urinalysis: A urinalysis will be done to look for any abnormalities in the appearance, content, or concentration of the urine.
- Ultrasound: This study is done to look at the blood flow to the testicles. If the blood flow is less than what it should be then it indicates a medical condition called as testicular torsion and if it is higher than what it should be then it practically confirms the diagnosis of Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral).
- Nuclear Study Of Testicles: In this study a radioactive element is inserted in the blood and the blood flow to the testicles is checked. This test also helps in confirming Orchitis(Bacterial & Viral).
What is the Treatment for Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral)?
The following are the treatment options for treating Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral):
Treatment for Bacterial Orchitis: In order to treat Bacterial Orchitis, the physician will prescribe antibiotics. The antibiotics may be changed based on the response of the individual to certain antibiotics. In case if bacterial Orchitis is caused due to sexually transmitted disease then it is imperative that the partner of the individual should also get treated for sexually transmitted disease so as to prevent recurrence. It is extremely important that the affected individual complete the entire course of antibiotics prescribed to ensure complete elimination of the infection. The symptoms of bacterial orchitis may ease up soon after the antibiotics are started but the testicular tenderness may remain for a few weeks. To help treat the discomfort associated with bacterial orchitis, adequate rest, applying ice, taking pain medications may be advised by the treating physician.
Treatment for Viral Orchitis: To treat Viral Orchitis, the treatment is basically aimed at symptoms relief. Usually it takes about a week to 10 days for the individual to start noticing symptom relief of viral orchitis. The physician may recommend use of NSAIDs like ibuprofen and Advil for relief of pain and inflammation associated with Viral Orchitis. The physician may also advise adequate bed rest and elevate the scrotal areas. The physician may also recommend application of ice for relief of discomfort.
What are the Complications of Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral)?
Usually Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral) does not lead to any significant complications and the individual suffering from this condition recovers completely with appropriate treatment. In rare cases, Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral) may affect the fertility of the individual. Some of the other rare complications of Orchitis are:
- Chronic epididymal inflammation
- Scrotal abscess
- Shrinking of the testicle.
What Are The Ways To Prevent Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral)?
If an individual has a congenital abnormality of the urinary tract then orchitis may not be able to be prevented but the bacterial and viral forms of Orchitis definitely can be prevented if the individual practices safe sex. It is important to use condoms during sexual activity. It is also important to know about the partner's sexual history before any type of intercourse. Children need to be adequately vaccinated for mumps virus to prevent development of Viral Orchitis.
Tips to Cope with Discomfort of Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral)
In order to calm down the discomfort caused by Bacterial Orchitis or Viral Orchitis, it is useful to do the following:
- Try and rest in bed
- Lying down in such a way that the scrotal area is elevated for symptom relief
- Applying ice pack in the scrotal area for symptom relief
- It is better to abstain from heavy lifting or any strenuous activity until the symptoms of Orchitis (Bacterial & Viral) completely resolve and the condition is completely treated.