Epididymitis and Orchitis Risk Factors

Risk factors for epididymitis include the following:

  • Frequent urinary tract infections (e.g., urethritis, kidney infection)
  • Untreated bacterial prostatitis
  • Untreated bacterial STD
  • Urinary catheterization
  • Unprotected sex
  • Severely compromised immunity
  • Bladder obstruction (e.g., due to enlarged prostate or urethral abnormality)

The most common cause for acute orchitis is epididymitis, and the condition is then more accurately called epididymo-orchitis. Orchitis that occurs by itself usually is a secondary symptom of the mumps (a viral infection that usually begins in the salivary glands). This condition, which is called mumps orchitis, only occurs in males after puberty.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), college dormitory residents, health care workers, and international travelers are at greatest risk for exposure to and infection with mumps. Mumps is common in many countries outside the United States, including Western Europe. Vaccination against mumps helps, but it is not a guarantee of prevention.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 14 May 2007

Last Modified: 14 Sep 2015