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John Rinehart, MD, PhD, Reproductive Medicine Institute, Chicago
Fertility Specialist

What Is Epididymitis?

My partner has epididymitis. What does that mean?

If your guy has epididymitis, he probably knows there’s something funky going on. This often-painful infection of the collecting tubules for sperm (the epididymis) comes on suddenly and strongly, with the discomfort right around his testicles. Other symptoms include fever, chills, blood in the semen, a lump in the testicle, swelling in the scrotum, and pain during ejaculation or urination. It’s usually caused by the spread of a bacterial inflection from the urethra or bladder, often due to sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea and chlamydia, although it can also be caused by E. coli and similar bacteria.

If left untreated, epididymitis can lead to the blockage of the epididymis, resulting in a low sperm count. Epididymitis will usually clear up with a course of antibiotics, and anti-inflammatory medications can help to reduce the swelling. He may also need to stay in bed and apply ice packs to the affected area to reduce the swelling.
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