Epididymitis in Children and Teens
The epididymis is a tiny, coiled tube in the male reproductive system. It is where
sperm are stored and mature. There are two of them. Each sits on top of the testicles
and connects them to the vas deferens. The vas deferens carries sperm to the urethra,
through which sperm in semen exit the penis.
Epididymitis is an inflammation or infection of the epididymis.
Facts about epididymitis
Teens are most commonly affected by epididymitis. It's usually caused by a sexually
transmitted disease (STD). So, it's mainly seen in males between ages 14 and 35. Gonorrhea
and chlamydia are the main STDs responsible for epididymitis.
Younger children can get epididymitis, too. In those cases, it is usually linked to
a urinary tract infection.
Epididymitis usually has symptoms early on. They include:
Pain and swelling in the testicles
Feeling of heaviness in the testicles
Discharge from the urethra
Blood in the semen
Lump in the testicles
Pain during urination or ejaculation
If your child has these symptoms, his healthcare provider will do a physical exam.
He or she may also do blood and urine tests. The healthcare provider may order an
ultrasound of the testicular area to find the cause of the pain and swelling. Tests
to look for gonorrhea, chlamydia, and other bacteria are often done, too, depending
on your son's age.
Epididymitis is almost always caused by a bacterial infection. So, antibiotics are
the first line of treatment. Your child's healthcare provider may also prescribe pain
relievers and anti-inflammatory medicine.
If symptoms don't improve within 72 hours of treatment, the provider may want to re-check
If an STD causes epididymitis, sexual partners within the 60 days before symptoms
appeared should be told. They need to be treated. A sexually active teen and his partner
should not have sex until both have been treated and no longer have symptoms.
Epididymitis is usually sexually transmitted, so practicing safe sex is the way to
prevent it. Safe sex includes having using condoms during sex and not having more
than one sex partner. To prevent any problems that can come from epididymitis, it's
important your son see his healthcare provider as soon as any symptoms appear.
Your son's healthcare provider can provide information about other steps to help relieve
the pain and swelling of epididymitis. This may include elevating the scrotum and
using ice. Bed rest may also help.