How to deal with acute epididymitis

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How to Deal with Acute Epididymitis


What is Acute Epididymitis?

Epididymitis refers to inflammation or infection of the epididymis, the tube which stores and transports sperm from the testicles to the urethra. Acute epididymitis is an infection which develops suddenly and lasts for less than six weeks. The main symptom is pain in one or both testicles and the surrounding area.

Causes of Acute Epididymitis

The most common cause of acute epididymitis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI), the most common of which is chlamydia. Other STIs which can cause epididymitis are gonorrhoea and mycoplasma. Rarer causes include infection of the prostate gland, bladder or urethra, a kidney infection, or a urinary tract infection (UTI). In some cases, the cause of epididymitis cannot be identified, this is known as idiopathic epididymitis.

Symptoms of Acute Epididymitis

The main symptom of acute epididymitis is testicular pain. The pain can be mild to severe, and may come and go. It is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as:

Painful or difficult urination

Frequent urination

Cloudy or milky discharge from the penis

Redness, swelling or warmth in the scrotum

Blood in the semen




How to Diagnose Acute Epididymitis

A detailed medical history, physical examination and urinalysis, where a sample of urine is tested, can help your doctor diagnose acute epididymitis. Your doctor may also ask you to provide a sample of semen or pus from the penis for testing. In some cases, your doctor may need to perform an ultrasound of the scrotum to rule out other causes of pain, such as a twisted testicle.

How to Deal with Acute Epididymitis

If the cause of your epididymitis is bacterial, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics to treat the infection. It is important to complete your course of antibiotics, even if your symptoms have improved, to ensure the infection is fully cleared. To ease your pain, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Applying a cold pack to the affected area may also help to reduce pain and swelling.

If your epididymitis is severe, you may be advised to stay in bed or rest while the infection clears. Your doctor may also recommend that you take anti-inflammatory medications to reduce inflammation. In a small number of cases, surgery may be necessary if the infection is not responding to treatment or if it has spread to other parts of the reproductive system.

How to Prevent Acute Epididymitis

The best way to prevent acute epididymitis is to use protection, such as a condom, during sex to help prevent STIs. In some cases, a special type of antibiotic known as post-sex prophylaxis (PSP) can be taken after sex to help reduce the risk of an STI developing. PSP is not appropriate for all individuals, and should be taken in conjunction with regular STI testing.

If you think you may have acute epididymitis, it is important to seek medical attention promptly. Early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications.

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