Causes of epididymo-orchitis

Inflammation of the epididymis and testes is usually caused by an infection.The causes of infection and the factors which increase the risk of infection of the epididymis and testes are briefly discussed as well as other rare non-infectious causes:


    Inflammation of the epididymis and testes is usually caused by an infection

  • Urinary Tract infection Complication
  • A urinary tract infection is one of the most common causes of epididymo-orchitis.Bacteria move down via the vas deferens to infect the epididymis and the testes.A common bacterium causing urinary tract infections is E.Coli.Urinary tract infection is more common in older men.

  • Sexually transmitted infection
  • Epididimo-orchitis resulting from a sexually transmitted infection is very common in sexually active young men.The most common infections to spread to the epididymis and testes are gonorrhoea and chlamydia infection.These are acquired by having unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected individual.

  • Complication from procedures or surgery
  • Any surgery done on the prostate or a procedure done through the urethra may be a source of bacteria which may cause infection.Even the insertion of a catheter increases a man’s risk of developing epididymo-orchitis.

  • Viral infections
  • Viruses are also able to infect the epididymis and testes.The Mumps virus was a very common virus causing epididymo-orchitis.When boys develop mumps about 1 in 5 patients also develop viral epididymo-orchitis.This is no longer such a common cause because children now receive an immunization against mumps.

  • Injury
  • An injury to the scrotum may also cause a non-infective type of inflammation on the epididymis and testes.

  • Rare infections
  • Infection from other parts of the body may travel to the epididymis and testes via the bloodstream.Tuberculosis has been found to be a cause of epididymo-orchitis which may cause complications.Rare infections, like Tuberculosis, usually only occur if the patient’s immune system is compromised like in patients with HIV infection, uncontrolled diabetes or cancer.

  • Birth abnormalities
  • Epididymo-orchitis is rare in boys before the age of puperty.However, if birth abnormalities of the kidneys or bladder are present, the child may develop epididymo-orchitis from infections which spread from these areas or as a result of a blockage which is present in the urinary tract.


    Chemical epididymitis may occur with repeated heavy lifting or straining

  • Body Building
  • Although very rare, a chemical epididymitis may occur when urine flows backwards from the urethra to the epididymis.This may occur with repeated heavy lifting or straining.The urine which flows backwards is usually sterile which means it causes a non-infectious type of epididymo-orchitis.In a case like this inflammation is present without infection.

  • Amiodarone
  • Amiodarone may also cause a non-infectious type of epididymo-orchitis.Amiodarone is a drug used in the treatment of cardiac dysrhythmias.