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The epididymis is a tube in the scrotum (the pouch that covers the testicles) that attaches to the back of the testes (testicles). This organ functions to transport and store sperm produced by the testes. However, certain conditions can affect the function of the epididymis
The epididymis is shaped like a long coiled tube. This channel consists of the caput (head), corpus (body), and cauda (tail). Each part of the epididymis has a different function.
The head of the epididymis serves as a place to store sperm. The body of the epididymis acts as a place for sperm maturation which usually takes about 1 week. Meanwhile, the tail of the epididymis is in charge of channeling sperm into the ejaculatory duct.
However, these functions can be disrupted if the epididymis becomes infected, inflamed, or other he alth problems.
Various Diseases of the Epididymis
The following are various diseases that can attack the epididymis:
Epididymitis is inflammation of the epididymis caused by bacterial infections of the urinary tract, prostate infections, or sexually transmitted diseases.
In addition, epididymitis can also be caused by a bump in the groin or due to tuberculosis infection. Although it can affect men at any age, epididymitis generally affects men aged 20–40 years.
A cyst of the epididymis (spermatocele) occurs when a fluid-filled sac forms in the duct of the epididymis. The exact cause of epididymal cysts is still unknown. However, this condition is likely caused by a blockage in the epididymal duct.
Small epididymal cysts often go undetected. The lump is generally only felt when its size begins to increase, with a shape resembling a soft lump and can move when palpated. This disease generally affects men aged 20–50 years.
Epididimo-orchitis is inflammation of the epididymis and testicles due to infection, especially urinary tract infections or sexually transmitted infections. Epididymo-orchitis is characterized by swelling and pain in the scrotum.
This disease often occurs in men aged 15–30 years or over 60 years. The risk of developing epididymo-orchitis is increased in men who use catheters or other medical aids that are inserted into the urethra.
Because it plays an important role in the transport, storage, and maturation of sperm, disorders of the function of the epididymis are often associated with infertility. Therefore, you should consult a doctor if you have this disease of the epididymis.
How to Overcome Diseases That Affect the Epididymis
To diagnose diseases of the epididymis, the doctor will perform a physical examination, such as detecting whether the testicles and lymph nodes in the groin area are swollen.
In addition, the doctor will also recommend supporting examinations, such as urine and blood tests, screening for sexually transmitted infections, and ultrasound. After the results of the diagnosis come out and the cause of the epididymal disorder is known, the doctor will provide treatment, such as:
Antibiotics are given to treat epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis caused by bacterial infections. Symptoms of the disease usually subside within 48–72 hours after taking antibiotics.
However, antibiotics must still be used to ensure that the infection is completely gone and prevent the occurrence of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.
If you have an epididymal cyst or epididymo-orchitis, your doctor will usually give you painkillers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, paracetamol, or opioid drugs, to relieve the pain.
If this medication is deemed ineffective, the doctor may perform an aspiration procedure to relieve pain and relieve pressure on the epididymal cyst.
In patients with severe epididymitis, the doctor may recommend the patient to undergo surgical removal of part or all of the epididymis.
However, in patients with severe epididymal cysts, the doctor will only remove the cysts that appear. This operation, known as a spermatocelectomy, generally lasts a short time, which is less than 1 hour.
4. Regular check-ups to the doctor
Unlike epididymitis and epididymo-orchitis, epididymal cyst disease generally does not require special treatment. However, you should still see a doctor to monitor its progress. Doctor's treatment is needed if the epididymal cyst gets bigger and starts to cause pain.
When undergoing treatment to treat diseases of the epididymis, you are encouraged to always follow the doctor's rules and instructions, both in taking drugs and when adopting a he althy lifestyle.
Don't hesitate to consult a doctor if you experience symptoms related to epididymal disease to avoid unwanted complications and get appropriate treatment.