Orchitis

Orchitis is inflammation of one or both testes (testicles), usually due to infection, injury or inflammation

3 min

On this page

Spectacles Icon

Medically reviewed by

Dr Ravind Pandher

What is orchitis?

Orchitis is inflammation of the testis (testicle) or testes (testicles).

Orchitis doesn’t often occur alone it’s usually accompanied by inflammation of the epididymis (epididymo-orchitis). Epididymo-orchitis is a common cause of pain and swelling in the scrotum.

Two or three out of every 10 men who get mumps develop orchitis.

Symptoms of orchitis

Orchitis is painful and can be accompanied by swelling and redness. The pain usually comes on quickly.

Causes of orchitis

Orchitis on its own, without inflammation of the epididymis, is most often caused by viral infection that reaches the testes through the bloodstream. The mumps virus is the most common of these infections.

Epididymo-orchitis is usually caused by bacterial infections. In adolescent males and young men, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by the bacteria that cause gonorrhoea or chlamydia are the most common cause.

In boys and older men, bacteria that usually cause urinary tract infections are the most common cause.

Diagnosis of orchitis

Your doctor can diagnose orchitis and epididymo-orchitis by examining you. It’s important to rule out other causes of testicular pain, especially testicular torsion. Your doctor might order an ultrasound scan to rule out testicular torsion.

Your doctor might analyse your urine or order a blood test to work out what type of infection might be causing your orchitis.

Treatment or orchitis

The usual treatment for orchitis is pain relief and rest.

If you have a bacterial infection, your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics.

Health effects of orchitis

Orchitis can affect the function of the affected testis, so changes in your testosterone levels or sperm production can occur for a while.

If your orchitis (or epididymo-orchitis) is caused by an STI (e.g. chlamydia, gonorrhoea), you should be tested for other possible STIs. Your sexual partner(s) should also be tested.

If your orchitis is caused by mumps, your affected testis (or testes) can become smaller because of damage from the infection and inflammation. There may also be an effect on your fertility. This is why it’s important to be vaccinated against mumps.

What to do about orchitis

See a doctor immediately if you have a sudden onset of pain in your scrotum. If the pain is due to testicular torsion, surgery will be needed straight away.

There’s not much you can do to treat orchitis in many cases, but your doctor can help you find a treatable cause if there is one.

Orchitis

Did you find this page helpful?

Information provided on this website is not a substitute for medical advice

Call 000 for emergency services

If you or someone you know needs urgent medical attention.

Call MensLine Australia on 1300 78 99 78 for 24/7 support

MensLine Australia is a telephone and online counselling service for men with emotional health and relationship concerns.

Sign up to our newsletter

We release two monthly newsletters – one written for men, family and friends, and another for health practitioners.

Your preferred mailing list

Your name

Your email

Stay up to date

FacebookInstagramLinkedinTwitterYoutubespotifytiktok

Healthy Male acknowledges the traditional owners of the land. We pay our respects to elders past, present and future. We are committed to providing respectful, inclusive services and work environments where all individuals feel accepted, safe, affirmed and celebrated.

Disclaimer

Healthy Male is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. This website does not host any form of advertisement. Information provided on this website is not a substitute for medical advice.

Trusted information partner of