What is mumps?
Among many viral infections’ mumps can cause many types of conditions. It is mainly affecting Parotid glands. Earlier children were the target of this contagious diseases. But after the introduction of MMR vaccine this condition had been controlled. When the children are attacked by the mumps virus they are getting a swollen area just below the ears at the side of their faces. It can be really painful. This face with swollen sides are called hamster faces. But there is a question we are having nowadays. That is; can mumps cause infertility of men? Well this article is all about that question. So, let’s go through the story of mumps.
Find out the cause of mumps
The cause of the mumps is mumps virus. Among various types of virus families in the medical world mumps virus belongs to the virus family called paramyxoviruses. This common virus family attacks the children specifically.
What happens when mumps virus enters your body is that it moves in your respiratory system. Likewise, they travel through your mouth, nose and throat and finally reaches to its target destination which is the parotid glands. These glands are existed at the both sides of the face and are producing saliva. At these glands this mumps virus starts to reproduce itself causing swollen glands. It also attack the cerebrospinal fluid. This fluid surrounds the spine and brain while protecting them. Once they have made their entrance to the cerebrospinal fluid it continues to spread towards various body parts including brain, testicles (of men), pancreas as well as ovaries of the ladies.
Symptoms of mumps
As discussed earlier the most recognized symptom of mumps is the swollen face right under the ears. This happens because of the Parotid gland swelling. These Parotid glands are the producers of saliva. Apart from that mumps can cause headaches, high body temperature, never ending pain in the joints, etc. These symptoms can appear few days before you get the swollen face. When someone is infected with the virus the symptoms will start to appear after 14-25 days. After you get the swelling at the side of the face it will become hard to swallow and will cause tenderness and pain. Also, you will feel sick and tired with dry mouth, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, etc.
Apart from causing infections in Parotid glands and other symptoms mumps can also cause severity in the testicles. This condition is named as orchitis. When that happens, the male testicles gets inflammatory.
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How are you going to identify that you have mumps?
Well this is a tricky question. Even though mumps is not that much of a serious illness it has the symptoms of more critical diseases such as tonsillitis or glandular fever. So, to check whether you have mumps you should contact and visit your general physician. It is the best option you have so they will give you a correct diagnosis. Before you go to him you should tell him the symptoms you are having so they will take the necessary precautions to prevent the infection from spreading. After you visit the physician he will check the swelling places and the other symptoms and decide the sickness you are exactly having. According to their inspection if they suspect that you are having mumps then they are sending a sample of your saliva to confirm it.
What are the way mumps spreading?
There is no difference in the way of spreading between mumps and cold and flu. It is the same way. If you get contacted with a small drop of saliva which comes out from an infected person’s mouth or if you inhale those droplets accidentally then there is a huge chance that you will be also get infected. These viruses are transferring to the outside world through the infected person’s mouth or nose. Once they sneezed or coughed there are thousands of tiny saliva droplets would be released from the nose and from the mouth. These droplets are breathed by people around and the virus will easily enter to their systems also.
Apart from breathing mumps virus can be transferred through objects also. When an infected person touches some object, most commonly such as; seats in public transportation, work tools in an office environment, school equipment etc, the virus is transferred into those objects. So, when someone touches those objects the virus will easily enter their respiratory system.
If you unknowingly shared cups, utensils, plates, cutlery with someone who is already infected then it is going to be your blind mistake. One is at the maximum contagious level prior to the development of the symptoms and also for some days after developing the symptoms. If someone is affected with the mumps, it should prevent from spreading. Specially stay away from the young adults and teenagers who are not vaccinated.
When someone is having mumps there are several ways of preventing it from spreading such as;
- Wash the hands using soap regular basis
- After using the tissues for sneezing please be thoughtful to dispose them.
- If someone gets affected by mumps, he/she should avoid contacting other people at least for five days. It means stay away from your work or school.
Who can get affected by mumps?
Young adults are the biggest target of mumps virus. Specially the ones who were born in between 1080 to 1990. This is because that those times the kids didn’t get MMR vaccine in their childhood. If they had mumps in their childhood the immunity would develop in their body through their whole life, so they would be prevented by the mumps virus when they become young adults or teenagers. But if the didn’t have mumps in their childhood that immunity wouldn’t adopt by their body and they would be easily become the targets of mumps.
Make sure you and your kids get the vaccine for mumps. Actually, that is a combined vaccine which pushes away mumps, rubella and measles. This is called MMR vaccine and it creates immunisation from childhood. You should give the first dose to your children when they are nearly 12 to 13 months in age and the 2nd dose should be given at the age of 3yrs and 4 months. After these two dosages 95% your child’s body will be immune to the mumps.
What are the common treatments used for mumps?
Currently there is no cure available for mumps. No one has found any cure for mumps. The only thin is wait and let the sickness pass with the time. Normally it will take to 1 to 2 weeks. By taking below actions you pass get some relief and make it pass away sooner.
- Have more fluids and have a good bed rest.
- Take painkillers to get a relief from the body pain. Paracetamol and ibuprofen are suitable painkillers for mumps. Avoid giving aspirin for the children below the age of 16.
- Press the swollen areas gently with a fabric soaked from warm or cold water.
Normally mumps doesn’t harm the body and gradually passes away from the body with the time. It is not causing any serious damage to the body. But sometimes in rare occasions it can cause some serious damages.
One damage it can cause to the body is opening a freeway to harmful viruses like meningitis. This serious condition will occur if the virus reaches to the outer layer of the human brain.
Another harmful condition which can because of the mumps is the inflammatory testicles. This happens only with the male bodies which passed the puberty stage. There is a chance that if the both testicles get affected by this condition that it will lead to the infertility. But the chances are very low and those are very rare cases. So, there is nothing to worry about that.
Connection between mumps and the infertility
Orchitis is a condition occurring in testicles as a side effect of the mumps virus. A person can get an inflammatory testicle as a result of it and there is a chance to become infertile because of that but under some conditions. It a male person gets infected with mumps before he gets matured sexually then he is not going be affected by orchitis. But if he gets infected after getting sexually matured then there is a chance that he might get affect by orchitis. According to the researches 30% of the males gets affected by orchitis after they gets infected by mumps. So, there is a chance you might get the orchitis after getting infected by mumps virus. Out of those 30% there is one third of a chance that the both testicles will be affected. As a result of this testicles will become weak and it will reduce the amount of sperm producing. But don’t worry. If someone goes completely infertile because of getting mumps after he got matured sexually then it is a very rare case. Orchitis cannot lead to 100% infertility. So, can mumps cause infertility in men? Yes. But not completely because the possibility is very low. To become infertile both testicles have to be affected by orchitis and even though that happened no one can say that person is going to be infertile. Chance is very rare and low.
Mumps orchitis infertility treatment
Mumps orchitis is a serious condition which occurs because of the mumps virus. Under this condition if the patient has passed the puberty period there is a chance that he might get inflammatory testicles which will finally lead to infertility. But the chance for this to happen is very low and very rare.
After the introduction of MMR childhood vaccine, the mumps orchitis condition has been reduced gradually over the years. But sometimes still there re very rare cases can be found. So, at such conditions people wonder are there any treatments for mumps orchitis.
Well yes there are mumps orchitis treatments. But before going into that aren’t you curious what is happening to the testicles when someone is attacked by mumps orchitis? Now it’s time to know.
After getting infected with mumps orchitis the testicles are encountered with testicular atrophy. During first few days of getting infected with mumps, the virus will enter and start attacking testicular glands. This will lead to inflammatory testicles. This can lead to lower testosterone levels, increased level of leuteinizing hormone and reduction in sperm production.
Even though the testosterone level becomes normal after a few months the sperm production still stays al low levels in some cases. This condition can sometimes lead to infertility. But the chances of happening such thing is very rare.
As for the treatments when someone gets affected by mumps orchitis he should get a plenty of bed rest, fluids, support of the scrotal and also, he should take anti inflammatory medications. These should be nonsteroidal medications.
In some researches they suggest broad-spectrum antibiotics which will control the bacterial infection in the testicular tissues up to some level.
Steroids treatments also helps to control the pain as well as oedema. Even though it helps in some way by controlling steroids cannot destroy the root cause of the disease and also cannot help preventing complications occur in the future. There are also several side effects occur when someone goes with the steroid’s treatments.
Interferon treatment is another type of treatment for mumps orchitis. By doing this treatment systematically it prevents the atrophy in the testicles as well as the infertility. According to the experiments done with the patients’ systematic interferon usage has prevented the damage occurred in testicles because of mumps orchitis and the treatment has also prevented infertility.
Mumps is a virus which can sometimes cause no damage to the body and at the same time capable of doing serious damage to the body. So, can mumps cause infertility in men. Yes, but the chances that to happen are very rare. In case if that happens there are mumps orchitis infertility treatments to cure those complications.