Orchitis

Updated: Sep 04, 2016
  • Author: Nataisia Terry, MD; Chief Editor: Erik D Schraga, MD  more...
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Overview

Practice Essentials

Orchitis is an acute inflammatory reaction of the testis secondary to infection. Most cases are associated with a viral mumps infection; however, other viruses and bacteria can cause orchitis. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]

Testicular examination reveals the following: testicular enlargement, induration of the testis, tenderness, erythematous scrotal skin, edematous scrotal skin, and enlarged epididymis associated with epididymo-orchitis. On rectal examination, there is a soft boggy prostate (prostatitis). often associated with epididymo-orchitis.

Most commonly, isolated orchitis is caused by mumps.

In sexually active males, urethral cultures and gram stain should be obtained for Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae. Urinalysis and urine culture should also be obtained.

Supportive treatment includes bed rest, hot or cold packs for analgesia, and scrotal elevation.

Symptoms of isolated orchitis usually resolve spontaneously in approximately 3-10 days, whereas epididymitis will usually resolve in a similar time frame after initiation of antibiotic treatment.

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Pathophysiology

Hippocrates first reported the syndrome in the 5th century BC. Orchitis most commonly occurs with epididymitis. Epididymitis is usually bacterial in origin; the most common pathogen is Neisseria gonorrhoeae in men aged 14-35 years, and Escherichia coli is the most common cause in boys younger than 14 years and in men older than 35 years. Viral orchitis is most often caused by mumps infection but can also be caused by a nonspecific inflammatory process in the testes.

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Epidemiology

Approximately 20% of prepubertal patients (younger than 10 years) with mumps develop orchitis. This condition has become increasingly common in adolescent and postpubertal males with mumps, especially in the last decade, with a reduction in use of the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine. The symptoms of orchitis usually present several days after parotitis. Isolated bacterial orchitis is even more rare and is usually associated with a concurrent epididymitis; it occurs in sexually active males older than 15 years or in men older than 50 years with benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH).

Unilateral testicular atrophy occurs in 60% of patients with orchitis. [14]  Sterility is rarely a consequence of unilateral orchitis.Despite some anecdotal reports, little evidence supports an increased likelihood of developing a testicular tumor after an episode of orchitis.

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Prognosis

Most cases of mumps orchitis resolve spontaneously in 3-10 days.

With appropriate antibiotic coverage, most cases of bacterial orchitis resolve without complication.

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