Overview Of Hydrocele
A Hydrocele is a fluid-filled sac in the scrotum.
Commonly Associated With
Processus vaginalis; Patent processus vaginalis
Causes Of Hydrocele
Hydroceles are common in newborn infants.
During a baby’s development in the womb, the testicles descend from the abdomen through a tube into the scrotum. Hydroceles occur when this tube does not close. Fluid drains from the abdomen through the open tube and gets trapped in the scrotum. This causes the scrotum to swell.
Most go away a few months after birth. Sometimes, they may occur with an inguinal hernia.
Hydroceles may also be caused by:
- The buildup of the normal fluid around the testicle. This may occur because the body makes too much of the fluid or it does not drain well. (This type is more common in older men.)
- Swelling or injury of the testicle or epididymis
Symptoms Of Hydrocele
The main symptom is a painless, round-oval-shaped swollen scrotum, which feels like a water balloon. A hydrocele may occur on one or both sides. However, the right side is more commonly involved.
Exams & Tests
You will have a physical exam. The health care provider will find that the scrotum is swollen, but not painful to the touch. Often, the testicle cannot be felt because of the fluid around it. The size of the fluid-filled sac can sometimes be increased and decreased by putting pressure on the abdomen or the scrotum.
If the size of the fluid collection changes, it is more likely to be due to an inguinal hernia.
Hydroceles can be easily seen by shining a flashlight through the swollen part of the scrotum. If the scrotum is full of clear fluid, the scrotum will light up.
You may need an ultrasound or CT scan to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment Of Hydrocele
This condition is not harmful most of the time. They are treated only when they cause infection or discomfort.
Hydroceles from an inguinal hernia should be fixed with surgery as soon as possible. Hydroceles that do not go away on their own after a few months may need surgery. A surgical procedure called a hydrocelectomy (removal of sac lining) is often done to correct the problem. Needle drainage is an option but the fluid will come back.