Complications of mumps are potentially serious, but rare.

Inflammation

Most mumps complications involve inflammation and swelling in some part of the body, such as:

  • Testicles. This condition, known as orchitis, causes one or both testicles to swell in males who've reached puberty. Orchitis is painful, but it rarely leads to sterility — the inability to father a child.
  • Pancreas. The signs and symptoms of this condition, known as pancreatitis, include pain in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting.
  • Ovaries and breasts. Females who've reached puberty may have inflammation in the ovaries (oophoritis) or breasts (mastitis). Fertility is rarely affected.
  • Brain. A viral infection, such as mumps, can lead to inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). Encephalitis can lead to neurological problems and become life-threatening.
  • Membranes and fluid around the brain and spinal cord. This condition, known as meningitis, can occur if the mumps virus spreads through your bloodstream to infect your central nervous system.

Other complications

  • Hearing loss. In rare cases, mumps can cause hearing loss, usually permanent, in one or both ears.
  • Miscarriage. Although it isn't proved, contracting mumps while you're pregnant, especially early on, may lead to miscarriage.
Oct. 05, 2012

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