Hydrocele – common cause of scrotal swelling

  • Hydrocele is the accumulation of fluid inside the covering of the testis called tunica vaginalis and cause the swelling of scrotum.
  • Hydrocele is present in newborn and disappear at around one year of age.
  • Persistance of fluid inside the scrotum or development at later adult age due to various reasons cause this disease.

Symptoms

  • Painless scrotal swelling
  • Discomfort or heaviness in scrotum
  • Redness or severe pain if fluid inside gets infected

Causes

  • In children, the hydrocele may be due to the peristance of fluid normally present at birth.
  • In adult age, hydrocele is due to various reasons such as testis infection (orchitis), epididymis infection (epididymitis), testis tumor, trauma, after varicocele surgery or other testis surgery.

What are the risks of hydrocele

  • Hydrocele fluid can get infected.
  • Hydrocele can hamper sperm production or the quality of sperms.
  • Swelling can get increased to lead impairement of quality of life or pain in it.

Diagnosis

  • Diagnosis of hydrocele is mainly done by doctor after physical examination.
  • Ultrasound of the scrotum region is done to look for any infection inside or to look for underlying cause lead to the formation of hydrocele.
  • Blood or urine test may be required to rule out infection of other causes of hydrocele.

Treatment

  • In newborns, hydrocele may resolve of its own.
  • Opinion of the doctor for conservative management is required to rule out any underlying testicular cause.
  • In adult age or in baby boys where hydrocele fail to resolve and causing symptoms to the patient, doctor look for any cause that leading to fluid formation. If no such cause found, surgical evacuation of fluid along with removal of fluid forming covering of the testis so as to prevent re-accumulation of fluid. 

Published by Dr Varinder Attri

MS MCh (PGI Chandigarh), Urologist and Andrologist

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