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Complications of Mumps

Pancreatitis, deafness, and the inflammation of various structures (such as the ovaries, testicles, or brain) are potential mumps complications that may occur as a result of the illness. Not everyone who gets mumps will have these problems, and adults seem to be affected by them more than children are. Furthermore, birth defects are not one of the complications seen in pregnant women with the disease.

An Overview of Mumps Complications

There are a number of possible complications that can occur with mumps. For example:
  • Inflammation of the testicles (orchitis)
  • Inflammation of the brain and/or tissue covering the brain and spinal cord (encephalitis and meningitis, respectively)
  • Pancreatitis
  • Inflammation of the ovaries and/or breasts (oophoritis and mastitis, respectively)
  • Deafness, which is usually permanent.
With the exception of deafness, these complications are more common among adults than children.


Mumps can be complicated by inflammation of the testicles in 20 to 30 percent of males who have reached puberty. This is known as orchitis. Orchitis usually appears 7 to 10 days after salivary gland swelling, but it can occur at the same time or even before this symptom appears. In up to 20 percent of cases, testicular swelling occurs on both sides.
When a male with mumps develops orchitis, symptoms can include:
  • Shaking chills
  • High fever
  • Testicular pain.
Symptoms of orchitis associated with mumps generally last three to seven days.
Mumps-related orchitis can lead to shrinking of the testicles and sterility, especially if testicular shrinking happens on both sides.
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