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  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:




Orchitis is pain and swelling in one or both testicles. It may also affect a person's ability to have a child.


http://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=25712571si2188.jpgTesticleNULLjpgTesticleNULL\\filer01\Intellect\images\si2188.jpgCopyright © 2002 Nucleus Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.21NULL2002-10-012553912571_948960Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


Orchitis is often caused by an infection from:

In others, the cause is not known.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:

  • A history of:
    • Epididymitis
    • STIs
    • Rubella
    • Urinary tract infections
    • Surgery on the groin
  • Never having the measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) vaccine
  • Using a urinary catheter for a long time
  • Problems with how the testicle formed

Actions that raise the risk of STIs also raise the risk of orchitis. These are:

  • Having sex with more than one person
  • Sex without condoms
  • Having sex with a person who has an STI


The main problem is pain and swelling of the testicles. A person with orchitis may also have:

  • Groin pain
  • A feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
  • Blood in the urine or semen
  • Pain during urination, ejaculation, or sex
  • Lack of energy
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting


The doctor will ask about symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the testicles. This may be enough to make the diagnosis.

These tests may be done to look for signs of infection:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Testing any discharge from the urethra

Images of the testicles may be taken. This can be done with an ultrasound.


The goal of treatment is to ease pain and swelling. How this is done depends on what is causing the orchitis. Medicines may be given, such as:

  • Over the counter pain relievers
  • Antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection

People who are not helped by medicine may need surgery. Choices are:

  • Epididymectomy—removes the epididymis (duct) of the affected testicle, while leaving the testicle in place
  • Orchiectomy—removes the affected testicle


The risk of orchitis may be lowered by:

  • Getting the MMR vaccine
  • Practicing safe sex




  • Acute epididymitis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/acute-epididymitis.
  • McConaghy, J.R. and Panchal, B. Epididymitis: an overview. Am Fam Physician. 2016; 94 (9): 723-726.
  • Orchitis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary-disorders/penile-and-scrotal-disorders/orchitis.
  • What are epididymitis and orchitis? Urology Care Foundation website. Available at: https://www.urologyhealth.org/urology-a-z/e/epididymitis-and-orchitis.


  • James P. Cornell, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.