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  1. The function and structure of reproductive organs is imperative for life. The external testes of humans are a feature unique to the mammalian class that allows for copulation. However, certain infections can occur that impact the function of the testes. Orchitis is an infection characterized by inflammation of the testes and is often linked with another infection call epididymitis, or inflammation of the epididymis. When they occur together, it is referred to as epidemiology-chitis. The symptoms for an infection are pain in the testes, fatigue, fever, chills, headaches, muscle pain, nausea, and tachycardia. These infections can be bacterial or viral. STIs are a common source of bacterial orchitis. UTIs are another possible source for bacterial orchitis. Viral orchitis can be caused by diseases such as mumps or chicken pox. There are possible long-term impacts from an infection. Decreased levels of testosterone have been reported during viral orchitis and can lead to a lower testosterone production after symptoms have gone away. A reduction in the size of the testes was also reported, suggesting tissue damage. This can significantly impact a males’ ability to fertilize an egg and produce a viable embryo. Fortunately, most cases will go away on their own, however, if caused by a virus or other bacterial infection such as an STI, treatment for that may need to take place and would help the body fight the orchitis as well. The cross stitch above shows a testicle suffering from epidemiology-chisis and a healthy one.

    Rosie Brennan

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