What Is Epididymitis?: Causes, Incidence

Among the pathologies of the male genital system, epididymitis is classified among the “scrotum disorders ” : although it is a rather sporadic condition, it must not be forgotten, since, as we will see during the discussion, epididymitis could degenerate, therefore create serious complications.
The term epididymitis is made up of a suffix –ite, a Greek ending that indicates an inflammatory process: the prefix refers to the epididymis, that thin, long and twisted duct that connects each testicle to its vas deferens . Epididymitis therefore indicates an inflammation of the epididymis.


Most of the time, the responsible cause of epididymitis goes back to a bacterial infection, but it is not uncommon that in an aseptic state the patient complains of inflammation of the epididymis.
Generally, epididymitis caused by bacterial infiltration (especially E. coli ) follows other predisposing disorders, such as bacterial prostatitis or urethritis : strictly speaking, it is clear how this chain of events can aggravate the pre-existing condition. In the case of bacterial prostatitis, the occurrence of epididymitis increases even more when an energetic prostate massage is performed , guilty of the retrograde pouring of the infected liquids through the vas deferens. The
Urine reflux into the epididymis is the most frequent cause of chemical epididymitis, generated by extreme physical effort, weight lifting or other sports taken to excess.
Other responsible causes of epididymitis reside in venereal diseases , such as. for example, chlamydia and gonorrhea ; however, fungal infections (e.g. Candida albicans ) are rarely linked to the manifestation of epididymitis.
Again, some operations on the male genital-urinary tract (eg prostectomy, catheters , etc.) can be a contributing cause of epididymitis.
Even renal and bladder dysfunctions could be somehow related to epididymitis: just think of tuberculous infections , particularly alarming pathologies: in similar situations, when the kidneys are affected , the pathogenic microorganisms tend to spread through the urinary tract , until they reach near the posterior urethra and the bladder , and then expand to the prostate , the vas deferens, the epididymis and the testicles .
Epididymitis can be a consequence of the administration of some pharmacological specialties, including Amiodarone , a drug used in the treatment ofcardiac arrhythmia : possible side effects also include inflammation of the epididymis, which can be treated, in this case, by modulating the dosage of the drug or suspending its treatment. In such circumstances, it is still necessary to inform the doctor.

Predisposing Causes Of Epididymitis

  • Bacterial prostatitis/urethritis → bacterial infiltration → inflammation of the epididymis
  • Bacterial prostatitis → vigorous prostate massage → retrograde outflow of infected fluids via the vas deferens → epididymitis
  • Extreme physical exertion, weight lifting → urine reflux into the epididymis → chemical epididymitis
  • Chlamydia and gonorrhea → inflammation of the epididymis
  • Tuberculous infections → pathogenic microorganisms tend to spread through the urinary tract → epididymitis
  • Administration of some pharmacological specialties → side effect: epididymitis


From the analysis of the causal factors predisposing epididymitis, it can be seen that the condition, in some cases, is sexually transmitted, while in others, it is due to other factors, independently of the venereal transmission.

  1. STDs are estimated to be the most frequent cause of epididymitis among sexually active young people; among the risk factors we recall the lack of adequate sexual education: some sexually active, but still inexperienced, very young people tend to constantly change partners and to have intercourse recklessly, without using a condom . It is clear that the aforementioned sexual conduct is at risk for the transmission of venereal diseases , and epididymitis is also one of these.
  2. Medical statistics record that the elderly and homosexuals represent the male categories most subject to epididymitis generated by bacterial infections of a non-sexual nature : in similar situations, the pathological condition is predisposed above all by surgical operations ( catheter or uroscopy) and by the enlargement of the prostate (urine stagnation in the bladder favors bacterial infiltration). Even a lack of circumcision could sometimes favor epididymitis, as it greatly increases the probability of bacterial infections following incompletely appropriate intimate hygiene .

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