Complications of Mumps

What happens if mumps is left untreated? If mumps is left untreated, it leads to complications such as inflammations of the testicles, ovaries, or the brain. In some cases, it also leads to deafness. Talk to a specialist for infectious diseases if you have any concerns. 

Mumps is a viral disease that infects and causes swelling in parotid glands (which produce saliva in your mouth). This virus can transfer when you come in contact with an infected person’s saliva, or nasal secretions, or due to close personal contact. It was a common childhood disease until its vaccine got discovered in 1967. Its symptoms include fever, headaches, stiff neck muscles, vomiting, seizures, and swollen parotid glands. While they are usually mild, mumps can sometimes lead to serious complications. Mumps treatment doesn’t include any specific medications, instead some bed rest, drinking lots of fluids, and over-the-counter medications to reduce pain.  

While mumps symptoms usually go away on their own but in case it’s left untreated and you’re experiencing severe symptoms like seizures, high fever, severe headaches, etc. then you might develop complications that can cause damage to the brain or lead to deafness.  


There are several complications you can develop if mumps is left untreated, including: 

  • Deafness: 

While it is rare and unclear how mumps infects the ear and lead to deafness, scientists believe that the virus damages the cochlea or inner ear. While it happens to one ear and is mostly curable but in some cases, it can be severe or permanent damage leading to hearing loss.  

  • Arthritis:  

Arthritis is also a rare complication of mumps infection. But it mostly affects children or young adult males. In the absence of parotitis, it causes inflammation of large and small joints. Fever, leukocytosis, or elevated erythrocyte sedimentation can increase the chances of arthritis.  

  • Oophoritis: 

This condition referred to inflammation of the ovaries. 1 out of 15 females experiences this condition if they get infected after puberty. It is caused by lower abdominal pain, high fever, or being sick due to mumps. It is reversible after the mumps symptoms pass away.  

  • Orchitis: 

This complication is common in males and affects 1 out of 3 males who get mumps after puberty. They might experience pain and swelling of the testicles. The testicle also gets warm and tender. It usually shows up 4 to 8 days after the swelling of the parotid gland and stays up to 6 weeks (about 1 and a half months) after the swelling of glands. Paracetamol or ibuprofen painkillers can be used to reduce testicle pain. If the pain is severe, contact your healthcare provider to get a stronger painkiller.  

In some cases, males notice shrinkage of testicles or experience a drop in their sperm count. But this problem is rarely enough to cause infertility.  

  • Meningitis:  

It is a common complication that affects 1 out of 4 cases of mumps. You can experience meningitis which causes inflammation of the outer protective layer of the brain (the meninges). Like bacterial meningitis, it is not life-threatening and instead causes similar symptoms where the chances of developing serious complications are low. These symptoms usually pass within 14 days (about 2 weeks).  

  • Pancreatitis: 

This is a rare complication only 1 out of 25 cases is affected by inflammation of the pancreas. The most common symptom of acute pancreatitis is sudden pain in the center of your belly. Other symptoms are:  

  • Diarrhea 
  • Feeling sick 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Tender belly 
  • Elevated temperature 
  • Yellowing and whitening of the skin (rare symptom)  

This condition is also mild, but you might need to get admitted to the hospital to fully recover until your pancreas functions are fully restored.  

  • Other symptoms: 

In rare cases, you can develop an infection of the brain called encephalitis. But it is exceedingly rare as only 1 out of 1000 cases of mumps develop this infection. But this infection is dangerous as you need immediate hospital care as it can be fatal.  

And 1 out of 25 people with mumps experience some temporary hearing loss but permanent loss of hearing is rare. Only 1 out of 20,000 cases of mumps.  

In case you develop mumps during pregnancy or meet someone who is infected, contact your healthcare provider or midwife for advice. There is little evidence that this can lead to miscarriage but don’t take any chances.  

Mumps is a viral infection that is common in children between the ages of 2 to 12. But it can happen to anyone. You can easily prevent this infection by taking its vaccination. There is no specific mumps treatment available right now, only rest and drinking plenty of fluid is helpful until the body recovers on its own.

But in rare cases, it leads to complications that are also manageable but in some cases, it can cause severe damage to the brain or ears. That’s why don’t let your mumps go untreated.  

Want to know more about viral infections? At Doral Health and Wellness, we have specialists for Infectious Diseases that can help you manage your condition. For more information, you can visit us at 1797 Pitkin Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11212, or call us at 1-347-384-5690. You can also visit our website at or contact us at if you have any queries.