Epididymitis is swelling (inflammation) of the epididymis, the tube that connects the testicle with the vas deferens.
Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Epididymitis is most common in young men ages 19 – 35. It is a major cause of hospital admissions in the military.
Epididymitis is usually caused by the spread of an infection from the urethra or the bladder. The most common infections that cause this condition in young heterosexual men are gonorrhea and chlamydia. In children and older men,E. coli and similar infections are much more common. This is also true in homosexual men.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) can occur as epididymitis. Other bacteria (such as Ureaplasma) may also cause the condition.
Another cause of epididymitis is the use of a medication called amiodarone, which prevents abnormal heart rhythms.
The following increase the risk for epididymitis:
- Being uncircumcised
- Recent surgery or a history of structural problems in the urinary tract
- Regular use of a urethral catheter
- Sexual intercourse with more than one partner and not using condoms
Pictures & Images
Male reproductive anatomy
The male reproductive structures include the penis, the scrotum, the seminal vesicles and the prostate.
Blood in semen
The presence of blood in semen (the fluid discharged upon ejaculation) may be caused by inflammation, infection, obstruction or trauma.
Pathway of sperm
The testes are where sperm are manufactured in the scrotum. The epididymis is a tortuously coiled structure topping the testis, and it receives immature sperm from the testis and stores it several days. When ejaculation occurs, sperm is forcefully expelled from the tail of the epididymis into the deferent duct. Sperm then travels through the deferent duct through up the spermatic cord into the pelvic cavity, over the ureter to the prostate behind the bladder. Here, the vas deferens joins with the seminal vesicle to form the ejaculatory duct, which passes through the prostate and empties into the urethra. When ejaculation occurs, rhythmic muscle movements propel the sperm forward.
Male reproductive system
The male reproductive system, viewed from a sagittal section.
Epididymitis : Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors
Epididymitis : Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests
Epididymitis : Treatment
Review Date : 8/2/2008
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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