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Frequently Asked Questions

What if the swelling and pain don't get better after three days of antibiotics?

Most acute cases are treated well by antibiotics. Sometimes, a different antibiotic needs to be used or you may require hospitalization with stronger antibiotics given into your veins. If antibiotics don't stop the symptoms, your health care provider may suspect tuberculous epididymitis. If a pocket of pus ("abscess") has formed, more must be done. Surgery to drain the abscess or remove part or all of the epididymis might be needed. This is rare. Other problems that might need surgery: teste death with destroyed blood vessels ("testicular infarction"); an infection that drains through the skin ("cutaneous fistula").

Can I pass the infection to my sex partner?

  • Yes, if the infection is from an STD. (This is most often the cause in men under 40 who have sex.) In this case, the infection can be passed back and forth through sex. Your sex partner needs to be treated as well.
  • No, if the infection is from bacteria in the urinary tract. There is no risk of infecting your partner in this case.

Will my ability to father children be reduced?

If your teste has shrunk due to mumps orchitis or tuberculous epididymitis, the teste will make less sperm. In rare cases, the epididymis may be blocked after an infection. This would also reduce sperm from that teste. If only one teste is affected, then most men are able to father a child normally.

Will hormone production by the teste be affected?

In most cases, hormones and sperm production are not affected. In rare cases, the affected teste may not be able to make testosterone or sperm. Ask your urologist to find out how you're doing.

Do epididymis or testicular infections lead to cancer?

These infections are not linked to cancer. However, in cases that are not getting better, a physical examination by a urologist and/or an ultrasound may identify something else as the cause of the pain. Most cancer of the testes are painless, but a small percentage will start with pain in this area of the body.