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Hydrocele: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Oct 12, 2023

Hydrocele: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

A hydrocele is a form of swelling in the scrotum, the skin pouch that contains the testicles. The small sac that envelops a testicle becomes swollen as a result of fluid buildup. Newborns frequently develop hydroceles. By the age of 1, they frequently vanish without therapy. An injury to the scrotum or other health issues can cause a hydrocele in older children and adults.

Often, a hydrocele is neither uncomfortable nor dangerous. It might not require medical attention. However, if the scrotum appears inflamed, it's important to see a medical professional.

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Causes Of Hydrocele

A hydrocele may develop before birth. Usually, the testicles of a developing newborn fall into the scrotum from the area of the stomach. Each testicle has a sac that allows fluid to surround the testicles. Each sac usually shuts, allowing the fluid inside to be absorbed.

After the sac closes, the fluid can occasionally remain inside and this condition is known as noncommunicating hydrocele. By the age of 1 or 2, the fluid is often absorbed. Sometimes the sac is left open and it is known as a communicative hydrocele The sac may expand or contract or fluid may leak back into the stomach region. Inguinal hernia and communicating hydroceles are frequently associated.

An injury may cause a hydrocele to develop. Or it could develop as a result of an inflammation-related scrotal edema. An infection in the testicle or the tiny, coil-like tube at the back of each testicle may result in inflammation.

Symptoms Of Hydrocele

One or both testicles may swell painlessly, which is frequently the only symptom of a hydrocele.

An adult's scrotum may feel heavy due to the swelling. Generally, as the edema develops, the pain gets worse. Occasionally, the swollen area may be smaller in the morning and greater in the afternoon.

Risk Factors Of Hydrocele

The majority of hydroceles are present at birth. At least 5% of male newborns have a hydrocele. A hydrocele is more likely to develop in premature infants who are delivered more than three weeks before their due dates.

There are several risk factors for developing a hydrocele later in life, including:

  • The scrotum may be injured or inflamed.
  • Infection, including a sexually transmitted illness.

Diagnosis  Of Hydrocele

Your doctor should start by performing a physical examination. It's most likely to contain:

  • Examining an enlarged scrotum for pain.
  • Checking for an inguinal hernia by applying pressure to the scrotum and stomach area.
  • Examine the scrotum with a light. The light will reveal a clear fluid-filled sac surrounding the testicle if you or your child has a hydrocele.

Following that, you might need:

  • To determine whether you or your kid is infected, doctors may use blood and urine tests.
  • An ultrasound imaging test to look for a hernia, a tumor, or other causes of scrotal enlargement.

Treatment  Of Hydrocele

A hydrocele may occasionally disappear on its own in infants. However, a doctor must examine a hydrocele at any age. This is due to the possibility that it may be related to a testicular issue.

If a hydrocele doesn't go away on its own, surgery may be required to remove it. Some patients can leave the hospital the day after surgery. You are given painkilling medication before the procedure to remove a hydrocele. You can have a sleep-like state as a result of some medications.

A cut is made in the lower stomach or scrotum by the surgeon to remove the hydrocele. Occasionally, a hydrocele is discovered when doing surgery to treat an inguinal hernia.

In this instance, even if the hydrocele is not bothering the patient, the surgeon may choose to remove it.

You might require a catheter to drain fluid and a large bandage for a few days following surgery. A follow-up exam might be necessary since a hydrocele might recur.

Complications Of Hydrocele

Most of the time, a hydrocele is not harmful and usually has no impact on a woman's ability to conceive. However, a hydrocele may be related to a health issue that can have catastrophic consequences. These issues consist of:

  • Cancer or an infection: Either condition could make the testicles produce less sperm or interfere with their normal function.
  • An inguinal hernia: Health issues that could be fatal can result from this.

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