- A hydrocele is a type of swelling in the scrotum that occurs when fluid collects in the thin sheath surrounding a testicle.
- Hydrocele is common in newborns and usually disappears without treatment by age 1.
- Older boys and adult men can develop a hydrocele due to inflammation or injury within the scrotum.
- A hydrocele usually isn’t painful or harmful and might not need any treatment.
- But if you have scrotal swelling, see your doctor to rule out other causes.
- Usually, the only indication of a hydrocele is a painless swelling of one or both testicles.
- Adult men with a hydrocele might experience discomfort from the heaviness of a swollen scrotum.
- Pain generally increases with the size of the inflammation. Sometimes, the swollen area might be smaller in the morning and larger later in the day.
- A hydrocele can develop before birth. Normally, the testicles descend from the developing baby’s abdominal cavity into the scrotum.
- A sac accompanies each testicle, allowing fluid to surround the testicles. Usually, each sac closes and the fluid is absorbed.
- Sometimes, the fluid remains after the sac closes (noncommunicating hydrocele). The fluid is usually absorbed gradually within the first year of life.
- But occasionally, the sac remains open (communicating hydrocele). The sac can change size or if the scrotal sac is compressed, fluid can flow back into the abdomen. Communicating hydroceles are often associated with inguinal hernia.
A healthcare provider can diagnose a hydrocele in a child or adult through a combination of tests and observations, including:-
- Physical exam – This may include testing to see how the bulge in the groin area changes under pressure or when the patient is asked to cough and/or shining a light through the scrotum, highlighting any collection of fluid in that area.
- An imaging test such as an ultrasound.
- If your new infant has a hydrocele, it will probably go away on its own in about a year. If your child’s hydrocele doesn’t go away on its own or becomes very large, he might need surgery by a urologist.
- In adults, they might go away, but only if it was caused by inflammation like trauma or infection that has been treated. If they are large they will be recommended for surgery.