Orchitis: What Causes Testicles To Become Inflamed?

What Is Orchitis?

swollen testicle

Orchitis refers to an inflammation of the testes. Orchitis results in severe pain and visible swelling of one or both testicles, depending on the underlying cause.


Orchitis can occur as the result of any of the following:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Viral infections
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Testicular trauma
  • Stroke


Bacterial orchitis

Bacterial orchitis refers to orchitis caused by epididymitis, an inflammation of the epididymis, the coiled tube that connects the vas deferens and the testicle. When the epididymis becomes inflamed from a bacterial infection, it can spread to the testicle and cause bacterial orchitis.

Viral orchitis

Viral orchitis refers to orchitis that results from the viral infection known as the mumps. Approximately one-third of boys who develop the mumps will also develop orchitis.


  • Swelling of one or both testicles
  • Swelling of the inguinal lymph nodes
  • Blood in the semen
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the testicle or groin
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low grade fever

swollen testicle


Orchitis can be diagnosed by a primary care physician upon thorough physical examination. Your doctor will likely order diagnostic tests to check for certain infections. In some cases, they may order diagnostic imaging of the testes and groin area to rule out other conditions that affect the testicles, such as testicular cancer.


Most cases of orchitis resolve on their own after the underlying cause is treated. If the testicular inflammation is the result of infection, antibiotics to treat the infection will often lead to the resolution of orchitis. In some cases of viral orchitis, the testicle may remain swollen and inflamed, ultimately leading to the patient becoming sterile.

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