Duration of epididymitis


The epididymis is a structure a few millimeters in size that rests on the upper pole of the testicle and plays a crucial role in the maturation and transport of sperm. Inflammation of this structure, also called epididymitis, can cause severe pain and increased swelling of the epididymis. Symptoms, such as testicular pain, swelling, and fever, usually increase over the course of hours to days. While initially there is an isolated inflammation of the epididymis, without therapy the pain spreads and the scrotum becomes significantly swollen. The inflammation can also become chronic, which can be associated with considerable complications, such as unilateral occlusion of the seminal duct. For this reason, early treatment of epididymitis is extremely crucial in terms of prognosis. Since epididymitis is usually triggered by inflammation or narrowing in the urogenital tract, the cause must be clarified after the acute symptoms have subsided in order to prevent the disease from recurring.

How long does epididymitis take to heal?

How long an epididymis takes to completely heal depends largely on the underlying cause, the time of diagnosis and consistent adherence to bed rest. While epididymis, which is recognized at an early stage of the disease and is only associated with mild symptoms, usually respond well to antibiotic and anti-inflammatory therapy within 2-3 days, pronounced findings can lead to significantly longer courses. As part of the therapy, strict bed rest and gentle measures, such as elevating the scrotum, should always be observed in order not to delay the healing process. A decrease in the fever and the significant reduction in scrotum swelling are good parameters for the disease to subside. If these measures are not observed, the duration of the illness can be significantly prolonged and even become chronic.
Furthermore, the duration of the illness depends on the choice of the right antibiotic. A direct pathogen detection through smears can be extremely helpful, especially in the case of complicated processes, as this allows targeted therapy to be carried out. If no pathogen detection is possible, antibiotics may have little or no effect on the underlying pathogen, which can result in a prolonged duration of the disease.

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How long have you been in pain?

Pain in the scrotum area is usually the first symptom of the onset of epididymitis. While initially only a slight dull pain is perceived, it can increase significantly over the course of a few hours to days and be perceived as generalized lower abdominal pain. As part of the therapy, adequate pain therapy with ibuprofen or paracetamol can achieve significant pain relief. In mild forms of epididymitis there is a significant reduction in pain three to four days after the start of therapy. With severe and chronic courses, on the other hand, the pain can drag on for several days to a few weeks. Depending on the underlying cause of the inflammation, the pain may only go away completely when the trigger of the disease has been removed, as is the case, for example, with existing urinary stones.

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Duration of the swelling

If epididymitis is detected at an early stage, in which only isolated swelling of the epididymis can be detected, the swelling can be noticeably reduced within two to three days by starting treatment quickly. If the testicle is involved and there is an inflammatory accumulation of fluid in the scrotum, however, it can take several days to a few weeks for the swelling of the scrotum to completely subside. This applies in particular to cases in which the swelling of the scrotum has led to a thickened, non-displaceable skin condition.

Duration of the remaining symptoms

In addition to pain and testicular swelling, epididymitis can be accompanied by a number of other symptoms. These are mostly related to the underlying cause. For example, a urinary tract infection leads to pain when urinating and a frequent urge to urinate. An improvement in these symptoms can therefore only be expected after treatment of the primary cause. However, in most cases, bacterial inflammation will improve within 2-3 days. However, special pathogens such as gonorrhea in the context of urethritis can also show a somewhat slower response to therapy. In the case of structural changes in the genitourinary tract that can lead to epididymitis, surgery is sometimes necessary to improve the existing symptoms.

Duration of the risk of infection

The risk of infection from epididymis is generally considered to be low. This is especially true in cases of a classic urinary tract infection with E. coli or enterobacteria. Other bacteria such as chlamydia or gonorrhea pathogens, on the other hand, as sexually transmitted infections can certainly lead to an infection of sexual partners. However, even in these cases after the initiation of antibiotic therapy, there is no longer any risk of infection after 2-3 days.

How long will I be on sick leave?

As part of the treatment of epididymis and testicular inflammation, strict adherence to bed rest is extremely important for the course of the disease. For this reason, people are often on sick leave a little longer than with other infections. Bed rest should usually be maintained until the body temperature has normalized and the testicle has decongested. In most cases this means a sick leave period of around 4-5 days or longer.

Duration of antibiotic use

In many cases, bacterial infection is what causes epididymitis. In these cases treatment with antibiotics is necessary. The duration of this therapy depends largely on the underlying pathogen and the antibiotic used. While classic pathogens of simple urinary tract infections such as E. coli are usually treated for 3-5 days, sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea are usually treated with several antibiotics for 7-14 days.

Additional information
  • Epididymis
  • Epididymitis
  • Swelling of the epididymis
  • Pain in the scrotum
  • Urinary tract infection
  • sexually transmitted infections
  • Urethritis
  • Urinary stones