The reproductive system in humans enables them to survive and is essential to keep mankind alive. Other functions of the reproductive system include endocrine and urinary systems that help to maintain homeostasis (a self-regulating process through biological systems that enable humans to maintain internal stability while adjusting to changes in the external environment). In the world of medicine, problems affecting the reproductive system can cause great discomfort and possible risk for fertility issues. In medicine, there are many issues that could affect a man’s reproductive health, one of them is epididymitis.

Epididymitis is a disease characterised by inflammation of the epididymis (a tube at the back of the testicles where sperms mature). Epididymitis may occur in male of any age with majority cases in males with active reproductive age of 20 to 40 years old. Due to the proximity of the testis and the epididymis, any infections or inflammation affecting the epididymis may affect the testis too, this is known as epididymo-orchitis.

Most cases of epididymitis are caused by bacterial infection. Most common cause of such infection is from sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhoea and chlamydia. Infections may be from common urinary pathogens resulting from retrograde flow of urine (abnormal backward flow of the urine). Some cases of epididymitis are caused by bacteria from the gut such as E. coli and rare cases may be bacteria associated with tuberculosis such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In males that have not yet reached puberty, common cause of epididymitis is inflammation from the trauma or repetitive activities such as sports. Other causes include systemic disease, immunosuppression, chemicals, medications and viral infections. Sometimes, there is no cause to be found causing the epididymitis symptoms.

Epididymitis typically cause the testicle to become swollen and painful. The pain often sets in gradually rather than immediately. Initially, it starts with flank pain which then migrates to the scrotum area. The testicle may feel warm and tender upon touch. Symptoms of epididymitis include sudden or gradual pain in one or both sides of the testicles, fever, urge to urinate or frequent urination, pain during urination or ejaculation and lump inside the testicle. In some cases, abnormal discharge from the tip of the penis may be found.

People with epididymitis will find themselves feeling discomfort and such feelings may actually disrupt a person’s quality of life. Some people may be reluctant to meet doctors as they fear being judged or criticised by healthcare professionals due to the disease site affecting their private area. In turn, some may choose not to get medical advice and hope that things will get better in time. However, can ependymitis go away on its own?

The answer is, it may go away on its own but it is less likely to reach full recovery without proper treatment. Due to the nature of the disease caused by bacterial infections, doctors will prescribe antibiotics to help treat the infections. This may be in the form of tablets, injections or both. The antibiotic course will likely depend on the bacteria being the main cause of the epididymitis. A person should be able to fully recover in 2 weeks’ time after finishing the whole course of antibiotics. Over-the-counter painkillers should be able to help ease the pain. To reduce swelling and the pain, apply cold compress and elevate the scrotum by wearing supportive underwear.

In essence, there is no such thing as being embarrassed about discussing epididymitis and to get treatment. It is best to get early diagnosis and treatment to prevent further complications in the future. The most debilitating complication is the infertility issues that arise beside recurring episodes of epididymitis itself. Also read :Dengue Prevention.