QUESTION: I have had a pain and discomfort in my right testicle for more than a month. It began quite suddenly on my right side and then after a few weeks went to my left too. It seems to slowly be getting better however whenever I think its on its way to improving it just gets worse and worse again.

First of all is there any chance that the right testicle is dead? Could it have become partially torsioned and slowly died without me knowing?

secondly how could it be epididymis if I am sexually inactive? if it is epididymis, what is the recovery process like? gradual? and what happens if you dont take antibiotics?


I certainly cannot guarantee that your testicle is OK from here.  It is possible that it has died or is non-functional although this would be a bit uncommon.  Epididymitis can occur if you are sexual inactive.  It's an infection.  Recovery is relatively slow and can vary.  Without antibiotics, the infection will persist longer, hurt more and heal slower with more scar tissue and discomfort long-term.  Why would you not want to take the antibiotics?

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QUESTION: what other possibilities are there other than torsion and epididmytis?

Its definitely not a sexually transmitted infection and so it is more likely a chemical epididimitis in which case antibiotics wont work. im not even sure it is epididimitis i still am awaiting the ultrasound.


While sexually transmitted is more common, we can find epididymitis in patients without sexual activity.  Bacteria can enter from the urethra and prostate.  Even if it is a chemical epididymitis, you can help prevent a secondary infection with the antibiotics.  If your physician has recommended antibiotics, it's wise to follow his advice.

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QUESTION: The problem is, I found out my ultrasound appointment is in 3 weeks. The doctor has not given me antibiotics.

So what do I do in the meantime?

I still don't know what is wrong and it does not appear to be getting increasingly better. Some days are perhaps worse than others. Some days it deteriorates.

Is there any risk if I continue to leave it untreated for the next 3 weeks?

is it worth asking for some medication or could it make it worse?

as I say I dont know what is causing this pain in both testicles.

I also feel that the top of the left testicle where the epididimis attaches is swollen. Either that or there is some sort of lump near that area. It is difficult to tell by palpation because I also have a ''bag of worms'' or bunch of veins near the left testicle (which I have had for 15 years with no pain or problem).



As far as what to do right now, I suggest you contact your physician and indicate to him that you are concerned.  Your only options are to follow his advice or to get another opinion from a different physician.

Leaving a possible infection untreated for 3 weeks is obviously not a great idea.  Risks would include additional pain, testicular swelling, atrophy and scarring.

You can always ask your physician about the benefits and potential harms of medication and then work with him to decide what's best for you.

You probably have a varicocele in one testicle.  The lump you feel could be a swollen part of the epididymis or a cyst.  The ultrasound will help make this determination.

Prostatitis can sometimes cause pain in both testicles.  You may want to ask your physician about this possibility.


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Stephen W. Leslie, MD


Questions concerning erectile dysfunction, kidney stones and prostate disorders including prostate cancer. I have a special interest in kidney stone disease prevention.


Full time practicing urologist with 30 years experience. Associate Professor of Surgery and Chief of Urology at Creighton University Medical Center. Editor in Chief of eMedicine Urology internet textbook. Author of only NIH approved book written for patients by a urologist on the subject of kidney stones "The Kidney Stones Handbook". Inventor of the "Parachute" and "Escape" kidney stone baskets and the "Calculus" stone prevention analysis computer program.

American Urological Association, Ohio State Medical Association, Sexual Medicine Society

Men's Health, Journal of Urology, Urology, Healthwatch Magazine, Emergency Medicine Monthly, eMedicine, "The Kidney Stones Handbook", and numerous articles in various newspapers. He is also the editor of the Urology Board Review by McGraw-Hill used by urologists to study for their Board Certification Examinations.

Graduate of New York Medical College with residencies completed at Metropolitan Hospital New York, Albany Medical Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards and Honors
Thirlby Award of the American Urological Association. Rated as one the country's Best Urologists by the Independent Consumer's Research Institute

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