Epididymitis is inflammation of your epididymis -- a tube that links your testicle with your vas deferens. The National Center for Biotechnology Information states that this condition is caused by the spread of bacteria from the urethra to the bladder and that it usually occurs in men between the ages of 19 and 35. Herbal remedies may be a helpful adjunct treatment for this condition. Always discuss the health ramifications of herbs with your doctor.
Epididymitis, notes MayoClinic.com, is often caused by a bacterial infection, although this condition may also be caused by a sexually transmitted disease, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with epididymitis include a tender, swollen and red scrotum; painful urination; a palpable lump on your testicle; penile discharge; abdominal pain; and blood in your ejaculate. High-risk sexual behavior and a personal history of sexually transmitted diseases are risk factors for epididymitis.
Helpful Herbal Treatments
Helpful herbal remedies in treating epididymitis possess either anodyne action -- to help relieve pain -- or antibacterial action, especially herbs that help treat bacterial infections of the urinary tract. Examples of useful anodynes, notes naturopathic physician William Mitchell, author of "Plant Medicine in Practice," include horsemint, mint balm and stone root. Examples of helpful antibacterials include usnea, buchu and corn silk. Other herbs that have historically been used in treating epididymitis include willow, birch, yarrow, pulsatilla, echinacea, kava kava and saw palmetto.
Herb in Focus
Yarrow is an herbal remedy that is frequently prescribed in the treatment of epididymitis. According to Sharol Tilgner, a naturopathic physician and author of "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth," yarrow performs many important health actions, such as reducing inflammation and relieving pain. Yarrow also possesses antiseptic action and has been used in treating a wide range of genitourinary conditions, including vaginitis, bleeding hemorrhoids and excessive menstrual flow. The flowers and leaves of the yarrow plant are most often used in herbal medicines.
Several serious health complications areassociated with epididymitis, including abscess in the scrotum, death of testicular tissue caused by prolonged reduced blood flow and infertility. If you experience severe pain in your scrotum, this is an indication that you should report to an emergency room immediately. Herbal remedies may be a helpful adjunct therapy in treating this condition, although not all herbs may be appropriate for you and your ailment. Discuss your case with your doctor to determine if herbs are right for you.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Epididymitis
- MayoClinic.com: Epididymitis
- "Plant Medicine in Practice"; William A. Mitchell Jr., N.D.; 2003
- "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth"; Sharol Tilgner, N.D.; 1999
Martin Hughes is a chiropractic physician, health writer and the co-owner of a website devoted to natural footgear. He writes about health, fitness, diet and lifestyle. Hughes earned his Bachelor of Science in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo and his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Ore.