Although men are understandably proud of their penis and scrotum, many men are not familiar with the inner workings of these body parts, despite the impact that such inner workings can have on their health. For example, even men who have heard of epididymitis may not be sure of exactly what it is or how it might affect their private parts, causing penis pain and other unpleasant symptoms.
What it is
The Mayo Clinic states that epididymitis “is an inflammation of the coiled tube (epididymis) at the back of the testicle that stores and carries sperm.” That tube is coiled very tightly indeed; if it were to be straightened out, it would measure between 6 and 7 meters. The epididymis does more than just store and carry sperm; it also helps them mature. When sperm first enters the epididymis, it is unable to swim forward and induce fertilization in an egg. During the 2 or 3 months that it stays in the epididymis, it acquires these abilities so that when it is released during ejaculation, it is capable of fulfilling its fertilization mission.
When the epididymis becomes inflamed, a man may experience one or more of these common symptoms.
- Swelling. This is the most common symptom. The inflammation causes the epididymis to swell, creating a “lump” in the back of the scrotum. The swelling is usually accompanied by a feeling of warmth in the area and a reddening of the skin, especially in men of lighter skin tones.
- Discomfort. The swelling causes the scrotum to be sensitive to touch; most often this tenderness is on one side of the testicles. There may also be pain in the penis, especially when the man is urinating. In some cases, this pain may also be felt elsewhere in the pelvic area. Sex is also often affected, with sexual activity producing feelings of pain, especially during ejaculation.
- Discharge or bleeding. There may be a discharge from the penis apart from urination or ejaculation, and sometimes, blood may appear in the semen.
- Fever. sometimes also accompanies the inflammation.
Epididymitis is generally classified as “acute” (temporary) or “chronic” (longer-lasting, usually staying around for six or more weeks or recurring after it seems to have been banished).
There can be numerous causes of epididymitis. Sexually-transmitted infections, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, are the biggest culprits among men who are sexually active. (Another reason why unprotected sex can be very risky!) But the bacterial infection can come from non-sexually transmitted causes as well.
For example, sometimes a urinary tract infection might infect the epididymis, as can blockage of the bladder or urethra, which forces urine into the epididymis. In rare cases, an infection in the bloodstream, such as that associated with tuberculosis, could make its way to the epididymis. And on rare occasions, some heart medications have created this inflammation in the scrotum.
Men who notice a swelling in the scrotal area should have it checked, especially if it is accompanied by pain, discharge or any of the other symptoms mentioned above. Antibiotics are often required to clear epididymitis up, especially among sexually active men. The doctor may also recommend giving the area a rest for a while; if pain is persistent, using an athletic strap and taking painkillers may be beneficial.
Keeping an eye out for epididymitis is all part of good penis care. So is regularly using a top drawer penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil, which is clinically proven mild and safe for skin). Be sure to find a crème with vitamin D, the acclaimed “miracle vitamin.” The body often needs help in getting sufficient vitamin D, and the penis needs its benefits as much as other parts of the body. And the best crème will also include vitamin A, which has anti-bacterial properties that can help reduce unwanted and persistent (and embarrassing) penis odors.