Testicular Autoimmunity



Testicular autoimmunity arises in the forms of testicular vasculitis and orchitis. Testicular vasculitis is the inflammation and pathological destruction of the testis’s blood vessels due to various systemic diseases (such as polyarteritis nodosa or granulomatosis with polyangiitis), rheumatoid arthritis, giant cell arteritis, and Henoch-Schönlein purpura. Testicular orchitis is the chronic inflammation of the testes due to the presence of anti-sperm antibodies. These two conditions can significantly decrease sperm production and cause symptoms associated with testicular discomfort.

Common Symptoms

Swollen testicles (one or both), mild-to-severe testicular pain, fever, nausea and vomiting, general malaise, infertility, scrotal pain, and urinary tract infection symptoms.

Coexisting Diseases and Conditions

Arthritis, polyarteritis nodosa, Behçet’s disease, Henoch-Schönlein purpura.

Risk Factors and Prevalence

Previous cases of infectious orchitis, general severe infections, having had a vasectomy, having cystic fibrosis, and prior viral infection.


  1. Article Sources and Footnotes
    1. Jacobo, P., Guazzone, V. A., Theas, M. S., & Lustig, L. (2011). Testicular autoimmunity. Autoimmunity reviews, 10(4), 201–204. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autrev.2010.09.026.

    2. Suo, L., Perez, L. C., & Finch, C. J. (2019). Testicular granulomatous vasculitis mimicking testicular torsion in an anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody-associated vasculitis patient. SAGE open medical case reports, 7, 2050313X18823451. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050313X18823451.

    3. Smith, H. (n.d.). Testicular vasculitis: Radiology Reference Article. Radiopaedia Blog RSS. https://radiopaedia.org/articles/testicular-vasculitis?lang=gb.  

    4. Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, November 6). Orchitis. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/orchitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20375860.  

    5. Trojian, T., Lishnak, T. S., & Heiman, D. L. (2009, April 1). Epididymitis and Orchitis: An Overview. American Family Physician. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0401/p583.html

    6. Silva, C. A., Cocuzza, M., Borba, E. F., & Bonfá, E. (2012). Cutting-edge issues in autoimmune orchitis. Clinical reviews in allergy & immunology, 42(2), 256–263. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12016-011-8281-z

    7. Rose, N. R., & Mackay, I. R. (2020). The Autoimmune Diseases (6th ed., p. 1241-1243). Academic Press.