The epididymis is the coiled tube that lies on and behind each testicle. These tubes are involved in the transportation, storage, and maturation of sperm cells that are produced in the testicles. The epididymis connects the testicles with the vas deferens, which are the tubes that carry sperm. Epididymitis is inflammation of the epididymis.
Epididymitis can be caused by an infection such as a sexually transmitted disease called chlamydia. Symptoms of epididymitis include pain and swelling of the scrotum. In severe cases, the infection can spread to the adjacent testicle, causing fever and a collection of pus called an abscess.
If epididymitis is not diagnosed and treated, it can produce scar tissue that can prevent the sperm from leaving the testicle. This can cause fertility problems, especially if both testicles are involved or if the man has recurring infections.
Treatment for epididymitis includes antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the infection, bed rest, ice to reduce swelling, the use of a scrotal supporter, and anti-inflammatory medications. The use of condoms during sex can help prevent epididymitis caused by the STD, chlamydia.