Mumps Orchitis of the Testicle
In the event of an adult male contracting mumps, it may develop into Mumps Orchitis. Inflammation of a testicle is called orchitis. This is most commonly due to the virus contracted by adult males. This condition may contribute to infertility in men, attributed to infertility low sperm count.
The illness is from a viral infection, spread through airborne droplets from either the nose or throat. It is caused by a paramyxovirus. This disease has the longest incubation period and can take up to three weeks from infection to outbreak. Thus it is sometimes difficult to track the source of infection.
This is the least contagious of the five major children's diseases and normally close contact is required before the infection occurs.The disease is most common in young children, generally after the age of two. Most children are vaccinated against the disease with the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccination.
The infection presents with fever, together with swelling and tenderness of one or more of the salivary glands. The parotid gland, which is found just in front of the ear, on the outer aspect of the cheek, over the upper jaw bone, is the gland most commonly affected.
The body temperature can rise to as high as 40 degrees, and due to the swelling some experience, could result in pain when opening the mouth. The most serious complication from this disease is the possibility of the spread to other organs.
For young boys who have not yet reached puberty, almost no after effects are found. The infection does not spread to the testicles and inflammation is therefore rare in these cases.
There are other complications experienced when this disease spreads to other organs, such as inflammation of the pancreas, or meningitis.
Influence on infertility
For adult males, catching this virus, can have serious consequences to fertility. In 25 to 35% of cases, the disease affects the testicles (orchitis), causing swelling, pain and soreness in the affected testis, with a high temperature. It may cause infertility in some.
Fortunately in many cases, only one of the testicles are affected. In only 10% of cases, will both testicles be affected, and this may not lead to orchitis.
Treatment for orchitis is with painkillers, plus ice packs to reduce swelling and pain.
The reason why male fertility may be affected by the disease, is due to the inflammation of the testicle, either in one and in rare cases, both. This results in the testicle shrinking, and sperm production is lowered. Many make a complete recovery, with full sperm production being possible.
In the event that one testicle is infected, the other testicle will produce a normal sperm count. It may take longer to conceive in these cases, but it is still possible.
For a male who has had mumps, going for a semen analysis, will certainly put his mind at ease about the condition of his sperm count.
Oophoritis in females
The risk of women contracting oophoritis, inflammation of the ovaries, is rare. This does not effect fertility in a women.
In conclusion, all children should be vaccinated against the mumps virus to prevent future complications, as in the case of a male catching mumps, and developing orchitis.
It is commonly assumed that males will become infertile if contacting the disease as an adult and as evidenced, this is not the case. Fortunately it is the minority of cases where infertility is experienced.
Mumps infertility can affect one testicle, leaving the second testicle to produce normal healthy sperm.
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