Epididymitis and Vasectomy
November 1, 2015
Epididymitis is an infection or inflammation of the epididymis. This is a structure that sits on the testicle and transports sperm to the vas deferens. It is a common infection in men and is typically treated with a two week course of antibiotics. The symptoms include pain of the epididymis with or without touch, feeling of a “pull” above the testicle, burning with urination, and lower abdominal pain.
The vas deferens is located above the testicle within the spermatic cord, and arises from the epididymis. This is the location where vasectomies are performed. Since the area near the epididymis is exposed, there is a small risk of local infection. After a vasectomy, it is common to have discomfort and swelling for up to 2 weeks. If your symptoms persist beyond this time, or if pain is severe/uncontrolled along with urinary symptoms it may indicated epididymitis. Epidymitis is not common after a vasectomy, but it can happen. Luckily, treatment is available.
Treatment is usually done with a one or two week course of antibiotics. We also recommend wearing supportive underwear, using ice on the scrotum, and limiting physical activity for one week. These techniques also help with the vasectomy healing process. Even after antibiotic treatment though, symptoms may take 4-6 weeks to fully resolve. If symptoms persist, we may consider further evaluation with a semen culture and/or and ultrasound of the scrotum.
Epididymitis can also be caused by sexually transmitted diseases. If you are at risk for exposure to STDs, it is important to test for this – as well as refrain from intercourse until treatment is completed.