Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis, a coiled tube at the back of the testicle that stores and carries sperm. Whenever the epididymis becomes swollen, it can cause intense pain in the testicle. While males of all ages can get epididymitis, it's most common in males between the ages of 14 and 35. An estimated 600,000 Americans suffer from epididymitis each year.
Epididymitis is typically caused by a bacterial infection, including such sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as chlamydia and gonorrhea. Acute epididymitis is felt quickly with pain and redness, usually involving inflamed testes. Acute epididymitis goes away with treatment, but lasts for about six weeks and worsens over time if left untreated.
Chronic epididymitis typically involves duller pain, develops slowly and lasts six weeks or longer. Symptoms include pain in the scrotum, epididymis or the testes. Chronic epididymitis can improve but may not fully go away with treatment. It can come and go.
Epididymitis often develops as a result of an infection in the bladder or urethra (the tube that carries urine and semen) that moves to the epididymis. In children, mumps and other viruses may cause epididymitis. Additionally, the heart medication amiodarone has been associated with epididymitis.