Epididymitis: Hydrocele of the Testicles
For boys and men, their reproductive organs lie outside of their body, between the legs and below the abdomen. These organs are known as the penis and the testicle (or sometimes known as the testes). The testicle lies in a skin that hangs from the body called a scrotum. The location of the testicles leaves the testicles to be in a very exposed and vulnerable area. Because of where the testicles lie it leaves room fro many scenarios to play out that can and occasionally causes plenty of injuries to the testicles.
This is significant information because behind the testicles is a tube that is known as the epididymis. This tube is what connects the testicle to the vas deferens (which transports the sperm from the epididymis to the ejaculatory ducts. For most men, when not engaging in a combative or extreme physical sport, there is no immediate or noticeable concern to wear a cup (athletic gear to protect the groin). So any physical injury they may sustain can be very damaging and crippling experiences.
The testicles are important organs that allow men to propagate. However for some men because of the injuries they sustain or the infection they receive, their testicle are at risk of needing a surgery and thus these men lose their ability to propagate.
Testicular Inflammation can happen for several reasons and as you continue to read on in this article you will learn the different ways in which the Epididymitis may occur, you will also discover ways in which you can completely treat the condition if you have it and lastly prevent the condition from ever emerging.
What is Epididymitis (Testicular Inflammation)?
Testicular Inflammation is a prevalent condition that many young males and older males are afflicted with. Testicular Inflammation, or medically known as Epididymitis, is an inflammation of the epididymis that can be caused by an infection or by a severe injury. The epididymis is small vessels in the back of each testicle that collects and stores sperm. When the epididymis tube becomes swollen this causes severe pain and great discomfort in the testicles.
There are two categories that Epididymitis can be characterized under. These two characterizations which are: acute Epididymitis and chronic Epididymitis. Acute Epididymitis lasts for about six weeks or less whereas chronic Epididymitis can last for six weeks or more.
There are four main factors that may lead to men developing Epididymitis, as epididymitis in boys and men are caused by different factors. As you continue to read on you will discover these reasons and learn how to treat them and how to prevent them. Listed below are injuries and conditions that can lead to or are the result of Epididymitis:
1. Testicular Inflammation/ Infections
Epididymitis – is the inflammation of the epididmysis mostly associated with a Sexually Transmitted infection (STI).
Orchitis – is inflammation in one or both of the testicles in men caused by an infection.
Spermatocele – also sometimes called a spermatic cyst, is a cyst that forms in the epididymis.
2. Testicular Injury
Rupture – occurs when the protective covering surrounding the testicle is damaged.
Contusions – when an accident causes injuries to the blood vessels and leads to bleeding and bruising.
Fractures – when an injury occurs and the testicular tissue fractures. The tissue is fractured but the outside (the penis and testicle) show no signs of injury.
Testicular Torsion – this injury occurs when the spermatic cord twist.
Scrotal Bruising – is the result of some kind of trauma that has been involved in the groin.
Dislocation – perhaps one of the most painful experiences a man can feel is the dislocation of the testes. This is when the testicles are located somewhere else, primarily found in the abdomen near the pubic bone.
The hydrocele is a painless buildup of water around the testicles that cause the scrotum to swell. The hydrocele will cause a great discomfort but not severe pain. There are three forms of hydroceles:
Noncommunicating Hydroceles: fluid stays around the testicle and is not absorbed.
Communicating Hydroceles: fluid flows back and forth throughout the scrotum and abdomen.
Hydrocele of the cord: fluid is located in the spermatic cord, between the scrotum and the abdomen.
4. Testicular Cancer
Testicular Cancer – is a disease where cells in the testicle become malignant in either one or both of the testicles. Most testicular cancers are either seminomas or nonseminomas.
Seminomas are a kind of testicular cancer that grows and spread slowly. Nonseminomas are testicular cancer that grows and spread rapidly.
Symptoms of Testicular Inflammation
Testicular injuries are a serious matter and if you find yourself suffering from any of the symptoms listed below it is imperative that you seek medical help. Examples of some signs and symptoms to watch out for:
- Fever and Chills (Acute Epididymitis)
- Frequent urination (Acute Epididymitis)
- Nausea and vomiting (Acute Epididymitis and Orchitis)
- Dizziness (Acute Epididymitis)
- Abdominal Pain (Chronic Epididymitis)
- Pain when urinating of ejaculating (Chronic Epididymitis)
- Pain and discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum (Chronic Epididymitis and Spermatocele)
- Heavy Feeling (Spermatocele)
- Swollen testicles (Orchitis and Spermatocele)
- Burning sensation (Orchitis)
- Blood in your semen (Orchitis)
- Pain when urinating, pain from straining during bowel movement, pain during intercourse (Orchitis)
- Red or purpled colored testicles (Orchitis)
- Pain when urinating of ejaculating
- Feeling of Pressure
- Frequent urination
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal Pain
- Lumps in scrotal sac
- Painless swelling (in its’ initial state)
- Discomfort due to swollen scrotum
- The size of the swelling varies throughout the day (Ex. small in the morning but larger at night)
- Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Pain and discomfort in a testicle or the scrotum
- Pain in the lower back
- Dull ache in the lower abdomen or groin
- A collection of fluid in the scrotum
1. Testicular Inflammation
Testicular infections are the most common reason for inflammation in the epididymis. For young adult men and older men, the common cause of the testicular infections are the results of STI significantly. However young boys are unfortunately affected by epididymitis as well. In this case, it is called pediatric epididymitis. Here is a few example of some reasons that can be a factor in young boys and adult men receiving some form testicular inflammation:
- a severe direct attack
- the flowing back of urine into the epididymis
- torsion of the epididymis
- Urinary Tract Infection (found more commonly in children)
Causes of Epididymitis:
- STI (the primary reason for most young and grown men who suffer from this medical condition)
- Bacterial Infection
- Enlargement of the prostate gland
- Injury to groin
Causes of Orchitis:
- The mumps
- Bacteria caused by an STI
- E. Coli
Causes of Spermatocele:
The cause for spermatocele is not fully known however it is thought it may arise because of an obstruction of the tube.
Causes of Hydrocele:
- infection of the epididymis
- inflammation of the epididymis
- Cancer of testicle
- Cancer of kidney
- Surgery of the scrotum or groin
- excessive production of fluid within the sac
- receiving a hernia
3. Testicular Injury
The majority of cases that leads to testicular injury is mostly caused by an attack from a blunt object that strikes the testicles. It is crucial to note that receiving a testicular injury can lead to an inflammation of the testicles. With enough force the testicles can be dislocated and later found in the lower abdomen region, thus causing the swelling and inflammation of the testicles and the surrounding tubes. Why this is so important to know is because Epididymitis is an inflammation of the epididymis.
Listed below are a few ways in which the testicle can be injured:
Causes of Testicular Injury:
- Sustaining an injury from a blunt object
- A kick to the groin, mostly for those who practice some form of a fighting sport (which is why in – many combative sports and professional sports it is mandatory for all competitors to wear a cup)
- A vehicular accident (however a person who drives a motorcycle they are much more prone to a receiving a testicular injury due to the vehicular accident)
- Falling down in an awkward position
- Sleeping in an awkward position
Causes of Testicular Torsions:
- An inherited trait found in some men
- Cold temperatures
- Rapid growth of the testicles during puberty
- After an extreme exercise/or workout
- Minor injury while sleeping (rolling in an odd way)
What is noteworthy about the causes of testicular torsions is that these are just hypothesis. It is not completely well known what causes for testicular torsion. However, doctors and researcher are inclined to believe that these may be the reasons for testicular torsions.
4. Testicular Cancer
The causes of testicular cancer are not fully understood. Doctors are aware that testicular cancer begins in the germ cell. However, what causes the germ cell to start developing abnormal or unhealthy cells are not completely known. Cancer is still a very copiously researched disease. However, there is a great amount of research that draws a correlation between certain foods we eat and cancer. These foods not only help cancer cells to develop but also have a very bad effect of spreading the cancerous cells at a much faster rate. Many of these foods, which are listed below, allow for inflammation to occur.
Here is a list of foods that can lead to cancer development or the spreading of cancer cells:
The foods listed above are foods that can cause inflammation and that can lead to a host of other health problems. The World Health Organization (WHO) have said that meat and dairy are leading factors in developing cancer.
With the dairy product being said to be rocket fuel for developing cancer throughout the body. It is imperative that the food we eat is healthy food. As you continue to read this article you will discover certain foods that help to protect against cancer and a certain food that is well known for having great positive effects on testicular cancer as well as other beneficial qualities for the reproductive system.
Risk Factors of Epididymitis
The removal of one or both of the testicles through a medical procedure known as, Orchiectomy. This operation is sometimes needed when someone receives a severe testicular injury or for those who want to stop the spreading of testicular cancer into other parts of the body.
- Shrinkage of the testicles
- Chronic Epididymitis – the pain and swelling last for a much longer time.
Your doctor will begin the diagnosis first with a physical exam. The doctor will later than check your testicles for:
- swelling of the testicles
- swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin region
- will check for abnormal discharge from the penis.
Other test and procedures the doctor may use to determine if you have Epididymitis are:
- will take a sample of your urine, to determine if it is UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) or an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection)
- take a blood sample to determined if there is an infection in your system
- perform a rectal examination, which will determine if the cause of the condition is due to an enlarged prostrate
Depending on the source of the injury for testicular injuries there are multiple ways that one can go about to treat epididymitis. Even if epididymitis is a condition that happens for reasons outside of your influence it is possible to treat the medical condition.
Testicular Inflammation (Epididymitis)
Luckily there are some infections that are treatable and there are medicine and creams that can help to treat the infection or bacteria. Here are a few example of treatments to help rid the infection:
- consistent warm baths
- anti-inflammatory medications
- medication to relax the muscles
- medication to alter the nerve signals to the scrotum
- anesthetics injections to the scrotum
- surgery to remove the testicular infection
- bed rest and medication are usually the best forms of treatments.
For acute Epididymitis, most cases are successfully treated with antibiotics.
Spermatocele (Epididymal cyst)
Usually, the Spermatocele will shrink and the builds will be reabsorbed back into the body. However, if the fluids remain and the pain becomes more severe, a surgery is then required to remove the cyst.
There are a variety of treatments one can take in order to treat orchitis. These treatments may involve:
- a physical exam
- prescribed antibiotics if there is a bacterial infection
- add a hot and cold compress to help reduce the swelling
- take over the counter drugs to help relieve the pain
- elevating the scrotum by use of wearing and athletic supporter (a cup) to ease the pain
The treatment for hydrocele is very simple for boys and young men which are to basically let it go away on its own. However, with older men, they might need a surgery. The surgery is called hydrocelectomy which is the procedure where an incision is made in the scrotum or lower abdomen to remove the hydrocele.
It is of the utmost concern that when you have received a devastating hit to the groin with a blunt object that you immediately get ice to help ease the swelling that will come after the hit. Ice is the best way to help take down the swelling and to help ease the pain.
- Manual detorsion – In some cases, the doctor is able to untwist the spermatic cord by pushing up on the scrotum.
- Surgery to untwist the spermatic cord – During this surgery, you will receive some anesthesia before the doctor performs the surgery.
- Get something very cold, preferably ice and apply to the testicles.
Testicular Cancer, unlike other forms of cancer, can be successfully treated even if it has spread. Listed below are a few ways that Testicular cancer can be treated:
1. Radiation Treatment
The treatment for testicular cancer is radiation therapy. This treatment revolves around the radiation targeting the cancer cells and removing them. The process is very similar to get an X-ray and only takes a few minutes.
However, in receiving radiation therapy there comes a few disadvantages of undergoing this process:
- Skin discoloration
- Skin peeling
- May affect sperm fertility (This is if radiation reaches the testicle. However, it’s important to know that your testicle will be protected but at the off-chance of it not being fully protected this is a disadvantage to this treatment)
This is a surgery to remove the testicles if cancer in the testicles starts to grow. Completely eliminating the testicle cancer from growing to other parts of the body.
However, there are some disadvantages that come along with this surgery (which are more emotional and mental than physical):
- Loss of fertility
- A lower libido
- Low Self-esteem
Chemotherapy is a medical procedure in which an individual can either take a pill or inject a needle into the veins to remove cancer. Chemo is a very successful treatment when it comes to eliminating cancer as it is a systemic therapy. Meaning that it travels through the veins and seeks and destroys the cancerous cell. Chemotherapy is treated to cure testicular cancer that has spread outside the testicle or used to stop cancer from coming back but it is not used solely for cancer found in the testicle.
The process of chemotherapy is a lengthy process that might take 3 to 4 weeks of the doctor giving you certain drugs to take. There are six major drugs individuals take:
- Etoposide (Vp-16)
- Paclitaxel (Taxol)
Sometimes the drugs are used in combination and this is another form of treatment that the doctor may use in trying to eliminate cancer.
However, there are some disadvantages or side effects that occur to having chemotherapy:
- Loss of appetite
- Mouth sores
- Hair loss
- Nausea and vomiting
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Increased chance of infections
- Can cause kidney damage
- Can cause neuropathy (nerve damage)
- Can cause loss of hearing
- Can cause the bladder to bleed
- Can cause damage to lungs
4. Stem Cell Transplant
Stem cell transplant treatments are used mostly after chemotherapy has failed. Stem cell transplant allows doctors to use a higher level of chemotherapy which, without the stem cells, could be very life threatening to the patient. The procedure can be very complex treatment. The process of receiving stem cell transplant goes as followed:
Step 1: Blood-forming stem cells are collected from your bloodstream in a few weeks before the treatment in a machine.
Step 2: The stem cells are then frozen for use after the intense chemotherapy.
Step 3: The patient undergoes intensive chemotherapy
Step 4: The person then gets his stem cells back
This form of treatment is used primarily to stop the reemergence of the cancerous cells.
However, there are some side effects and disadvantages of receiving a stem cell transplant:
- The major disadvantage is the life-threatening effects that come with a large amount of chemo you receive.
- A long hospital stay
- Stem Cell Transplants is a very expensive procedure
The best ways to prevent testicular inflammation
Testicular infection is caused by STI. It’s important that whatever sexual engagement you may engage in that you wear protection. The chances of receiving an STI when engaging in sexual intercourse can greatly decrease and prevented by following some of these options:
- Wear a condom during sexual intercourse (reduces the chances of getting an infection by 90%)
- Remain abstinent (refrain from sexual intercourse)
- Stay in a monogamous relationship (The same partner)
- Preventing child abuse (physical harm to a boy in his reproductive area can lead to inflammation)
- Mumps vaccination
- Cranberry extracts can help to prevent against Urinary Tract Infection
The best ways to prevent testicular injury
In taking the necessary precautions you will be better able to protect yourself from many injuries. Testicular Injury is the easiest of the three testicular ailments a male can receive because of the location of the reproductive organs. If you are someone who engages in a combative sport it is necessary to wear a cup even if you aren’t fighting and just practicing.
- Wear a cup during training and make sure that its a right fix
- Daily checkup with a doctor
- Know the risks of the sport you are engaging in
The best ways to prevent from getting testicular cancer
Lastly, testicular cancer may be a result of genetics, race or diet but research has also shown that keeping your phone next to your reproductive organs isn’t the healthiest thing to do as well. Testicular Cancer can be found in its early stages of its development. Here are three ways that testicular cancer can be prevented:
1. Give yourself a testicular self- exam
The best time to give yourself a testicular exam is after a shower or bath. The reason for giving yourself a testicular exam after a shower is because the skin of the scrotum is much more relaxed during this time. Here are a few steps you should take when you are giving yourself a testicular exam.
Step 1: Move your penis out of the way to examine your testicle
Step 2: Hold your testicles in your hand and use your thumb and fingers to roll the testicles around.
Step 3: Look for any kinds of lumps in the testicles or any change in size eaten the testicles.
In daily self-exams, you are able to better find an abnormality in your testicle and make the appropriate measures to prevent it from developing into something more dangerous.
2. Healthy diet
Testicular cancer can be detected on early on in its development and it can easily be prevented by consuming a healthy diet. A vegetarian diet can greatly reduce the chances of you developing testicular cancer. Here is a list of some foods that can help to fight against testicular cancer as well as cancer in its entirety:
- Basil – contains an antioxidant known as monoterpenes which have cancer preventive effects
- All kinds of Berries – specifically blueberries which are high in bioflavonoids which are well known for their anticancer effects. Strawberries ellagic acid which is a proven cancer fighter.
- Green and Black Tea – contains polyphenols, which have strong antioxidants that can prevent cancer.
- Cruciferous Vegetables (Broccoli, Cauliflower) – Broccoli and Cruciferous vegetables are high in a content known as sulforaphane which research has shown to block the growth of tumors.
- Cannabis – has a huge impact on fighting against testicular cancer and many other forms of cancer. It can help relieve the chronic pain caused by testicular cancer.
- Citrus fruits – citrus fruits are high in vitamin c but also high in bioflavonoids known as quercetin and limonoids.
- Onions – contain allylic sulfides which have anti- fungal, anti-parasitic and antibiotic properties.
- Garlic – is considered to be the most effective natural product for fighting against testicular cancer. It has natural anti-inflammatory and anti- cancer benefits. Along with consuming garlic, there are a plethora of positive effects men can gain from eating garlic on a daily basis.
The benefits of Garlic for the reproductive organs and systems:
- Can cure erectile dysfunction
- Cleanse the body of toxins
- Allows for better blood flow throughout the body
- Has anti- inflammatory and anti-cancerous benefits.
- Considered a superfood
It cannot be stressed enough how beneficial a healthy diet can be for the body overall. A healthy diet is the best option in maintaining a healthy body and to keep you free of any kind of ailments and any disabilities that may arise because of its absence. The benefits that come with a healthy diet offer a plethora of advantages.
There are a many research study cases that show the many negative effects of certain foods and how consuming these negative foods all lead to inflammation. Not only can many unhealthy foods lead to inflammation but they cause a host of many other health concerns, such as cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.
There really is no better option in maintaining your health than that of consuming a healthy diet.
3. Scheduled checkups
A self-examination is always a great option as you can do this daily and at no cost to yourself. However, there is really no better option when it comes to receiving an examination than to have a doctor give you an examination.
A scheduled check up is a sure way to make sure that not only your testicle are at their best but also to find others ailments you were completely unaware of. As the adage goes,”The best cure is prevention”.
Wrapping it up
It is of the utmost importance that you seek immediate medical help if you have any pain in your testicles. Epididymitis is treatable and curable ailment in both it’s acute stage and severe stage.
The many treatments that are offered to cure this medical ailment are easily available, save the cancer treatments. However, with prevention, it is very easy to keep from getting this ailment.
If you have received any type of an attack near your groin or feel any form of discomfort in your testicles seek help as soon as it is possible to completely cure yourself of this ailment. This will help to ensure that you are able to make a full recovery.
With all the information about the many causes and having the knowledge of the symptoms and treatments, you are better equipped with all the knowledge you may need to rid yourself of epididymitis.
Sources used while researching for this article
The sources used for this article are listed below. The sites listed below are well-respected sites with information coming from experts in the fields. The sites that were used as sources for this article have all been written by medical professional, however, you should not take the information that has been written in this article as medical advice. Console your doctor if you think you have any form of testicular injury.
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- Testicular Torsion, Mayo Clinic, May 05, 2017 ,
- Testicular Cancer, Mayo Clinic, May 05, 2017 ,
- Testicular treatment and Medicine, eMedicine Health, May 05, 2017 ,
- Treatments of Epididymitis, Better Health Victoria State Government, May 06, 2017 ,
- Risk of Epididymitis, Health Line, May 06, 2017 ,
- Preventing Testicular Cancer Naturally, Alive, Oct 18, 2017 ,
- Hydrocele Causes, Web MD, May 06, 2017 ,
- Chemotherapy for Testicular Cancer, American Cancer Society, May 05, 2017 ,
- What are the differences between older and younger patients with epididymitis?, US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health , Oct 18, 2017 ,