Encyclopedia

Hydrocele

Hydrocele is a condition characterized by the appearance of a sac filled with fluid around the testicle, which leads to swelling in the scrotum – the pouch of skin in which the testicles are located under the penis.

This condition is common in newborns, but in most cases the fluid-filled sac around the penis disappears without treatment within the first year of the newborn’s life.

Older boys and mature men may develop the condition due to inflammation and injury to the scrotum.
The fluid-filled sac around the testicle usually does not cause pain in the scrotum.

In most cases, the condition does not cause disability and those affected do not need treatment. However, if you have swelling in the scrotum, seek medical attention to rule out other causes.

What are the symptoms?

Usually the only indication of the condition is a painless swelling of one or both testicles. In mature men, swelling in the testicles can cause a feeling of heaviness and discomfort in the scrotal area.

Some patients report that the swelling is smaller in the morning and increases in size as the day progresses.
Seek medical attention if you notice or feel swelling in the scrotum.

It is important to rule out other possible causes of the swelling. Sometimes a hydrocele is associated with an inguinal hernia, in which a weak spot or defect in the muscles of the abdominal wall allows a part of the intestine to pass through the inguinal canal and sometimes reach the scrotum, which in some cases requires treatment.

If you notice that your baby has swelling in the scrotum, make an appointment with his pediatrician right away. If the doctor determines that the cause of the swelling is a hydrocele, it will usually go away on its own.

However, if this swelling in the scrotum does not go away after a year or increases, then again your baby should be seen by a pediatrician.

What are the causes?

In boys, the fluid-filled sac in the scrotum may appear in the womb. Normally, the testicles descend from the baby’s developing abdominal cavity into the scrotum. A fluid-filled sac surrounds each testicle.

In most cases, each bag is closed before the liquid from it is absorbed. However, if the fluid remains after the sac is closed, this swelling also forms in the testicles.

And because the sac around the testicle has closed, the fluid from it cannot flow back into the abdominal cavity and be absorbed. However, the liquid is usually absorbed in about a year.

In some cases, however, this tissue surrounding the testicle remains open. In this condition, the scrotum may change in size, or if the scrotal sac is pinched or compressed, the fluid will leak back into the abdomen.

In mature men and older boys, a hydrocele may develop as a result of injury or inflammation of the scrotal sac. The inflammation may be due to the small spiral tube surrounding the testicle from the back and from the top /epididymitis/.

Treatment of hydrocele

In small boys under 1 year of age, the fluid from the shell around the testicle usually absorbs on its own. But if this does not happen or the swelling continues, then surgical removal of the fluid may be necessary.

In mature men, as well as in older boys, the swelling caused by a collection of fluid in a sac around the testicle resolves within 6 months. A hydrocele requires treatment only if it becomes large enough, to cause discomfort.

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