Orchitis and Epididymis

Orchitis and Epididymis

Orchitis and Epididymis

Orchitis is inflammation of the testes and epididymitis is inflammation of the epididymis. Epididymitis is more common than orchitis but the 2 conditions often occur together.  Orchitis usually occurs when epididymitis infection spreads to the testes.  When the 2 conditions occur together it is often referred to as epididymo-orchitis.  This term is often used because it is difficult to tell whether only the epididymis, only the testes or both are inflamed.

The epididymis is a coiled tube located in the male’s scrotum and connects the testicle to its vas deferens.  Sperm are transported and stored in the epididymis for about 2-3 months.  During their time in the epididymis sperm cells undergo maturation.  The vas deferens in turn transports sperm from the epididymis to the ejaculatory ducts.

Epididymitis is the fifth most common diagnosis of urological disorders in males aged 18 to 50 years.  The incidence is highest from puberty to the age of 35.  The incidence rises once again in men over the age of 60 years.  It does not commonly occur in boys before puberty.  Epididymo-orchitis does not lead to cancer and is not associated with cancer of the testes.