A hydrocele is a fluid-filled sac in the scrotum. This sac surrounds one or both testicles and causes swelling in the scrotum or groin area. It is common in newborns and disappear on its own in the first year without any treatment. But it can also occur in adults due to inflammation or injury within the scrotum. The swelling is usually harmless and painless.
Causes of Hydrocele
The cause of most of the hydroceles is not known.
In newborns, it is because of an opening between the abdomen and the scrotum that may close shortly without any treatment.
In adult males, it is most common after 40 years of age and may be caused due to any of the following:
- Injury or surgery to the scrotum or groin region
- Inflammation or infection of the epididymis or testicles
- Infection in the testicle
- Testicular cancer
- Renal cancer (left kidney)
- Inguinal hernia
- Excessive buildup of the normal fluid around the testicle
Symptoms of Hydrocele
A hydrocele may occur on one or both sides and is generally harmless and shows following symptoms:
- Unsightly and uncomfortable scrotum swelling
- Generally painless but may cause certain discomfort
- Feeling like a water balloon
- Feeling of heaviness in the scrotum
- Some males??? complaint of worse swelling in the morning than in the evening
- Redness of the scrotum
- Feeling of pressure at the base of the penis
How is a hydrocele diagnosed?
Diagnosis of hydrocele involves a careful examination of the patient along with history. The physician performs following procedures to confirm the diagnosis:
- Trans illumination
- An ultrasound
- Blood and urine tests
Treatment of Hydrocele
Hydrocele is not harmful in most of the cases and need treatment only when they cause pain or embarrassment or when they decrease the blood supply to the penis. Treatment is given as per the cause of the hydrocele:
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- In case of child???s hydrocele that does not go away on its own, or becomes very large, surgery is required.
- If hydrocele is because of inguinal hernia, it is fixed with surgery as soon as possible.
- In case of adult hydrocele, a surgical procedure called a hydrocelectomy (removal of sac lining) is often required to correct the problem.
- Needle drainage is often performed as a first step but does not work well because the fluid will come back.