Is that pain in one’s testicles serious? It could be orchitis!

What is orchitis?

Orchitis refers to inflammation (itis) of one’s testicle (orkhis). Orchitis is indeed a painful, potentially dangerous infection of the male genitals and can occur due to viral or non-viral causes.

The first few symptoms to arise are usually fever, headache, malaise (or a general ill-feeling), and also swollen salivary glands (parotitis), followed by swollen, painful testicles that can occur unilaterally (on one side) or even bilaterally. A person may also experience painful urination, blood in one’s urine or semen, and pain in the surrounding area of the testicles.

To treat orchitis, vaccination with the MMR vaccine in childhood is a good way to go. If the cause is viral, treatment options are usually supportive. Treatment for non-viral orchitis can involve surgery to restore blood flow to the testicle or even antibiotics if the cause is bacterial.

Antibiotics are required to treat bacterial orchitis. If the cause is viral, ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and ice packs can be used to treat symptoms.

Orchitis symptoms

Main symptoms

  • Testicular pain or swelling: For mumps or orchitis, testicular symptoms typically begin one to two weeks after the first signs of constitutional symptoms (fever, headache, or malaise) and also swollen salivary glands in the jaw (known as parotitis).
  • Unilateral or bilateral: Orchitis is usually unilateral (affecting one side) but can also be, of course, bilateral (affecting both sides).

Other symptoms

Other systemic symptoms of orchitis that do not affect one’s testicles include:

  • Fever: This happens to be a very common systemic symptom, sometimes occurring along with headaches and malaise.
  • Painful urination: Also known as dysuria, painful urination can indeed be seen in bacterial orchitis, particularly when caused by sexually transmitted bacteria or even urinary tract infections.
  • Blood in the urine or semen: It is also possible to see blood in one’s urine (known as hematuria) or even the semen (hematospermia), particularly in non-viral orchitis.
  • Thigh or scrotum pain, swelling, and redness: Orchitis from any cause can indeed also be accompanied by pain, swelling, and redness of tissues around one’s testicles, like the scrotum or thigh.
Is that pain in one’s testicles serious? It could be orchitis!
What is most likely to cause testicle pain?

Pain is more likely just before and during sexual activity, after ejaculation, and also during or after exercising. The pain can be there when awake, asleep, standing, sitting, or moving.

At-home treatments

For mild testicle pain, you can try the following:

  • Resting.
  • Applying ice packs for short periods, such as 15–20 minutes, a few times per day.
  • Taking pain medication. Trying out over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to relieve the pain.

Seeing a doctor right away is important if having dull pain in the testicle that starts slowly. It might appear as though it is coming from or going into the lower abdomen. Also, it is advisable to consult a doctor if suffering from fever, chills, and burning when urinating.