Epididymitis is the acute or chronic inflammation of the epididymis (the structure at the back of the testicle that stores and transports sperm), although it can also affect the vas deferens (deferentitis) and the testicle (orchiepididymitis). We will talk about acute orchiepididymitis if the process lasts less than 6 weeks and chronic if it is longer.
This pathology is more frequent in young men between 19 and 35 years of age. Generally, epididymitis is caused by the spread of a bacterial infection. The infection often begins in the urethra, prostate, or bladder.
Gonorrhea and chlamydia infections are almost always the cause of the problem in young sexually active men. In addition, in boys and older men, the most common cause of epididymitis is E. coli and similar bacteria. Other bacteria causing epididymitis are Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Ureaplasma.
Sometimes epididymitis is not caused by a bacterial infection but by a viral (such as cytomegalovirus infection) or fungal (actinomycosis, blastomycosis) infection. Amiodarone (antiarrhythmic drug) also has possible side effects for epididymitis.
Factors that increase the risk of epididymitis include the following:
- Recent surgery.
- Past structural problems in the urinary tract.
- Frequent bladder catheter use (usually secondary to structural problems or surgery).
- Sexual relations with more than one partner and not using a condom.
- Prostatic hypertrophy (enlarged prostate).
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