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A hydrocele is an accumulation of clear fluid in the tunica vaginalis, the most internal of
membranes containing a testicle. A primary hydrocele causes a painless enlargement in the scrotum on the affected side and is thought to be due to the defective absorption of fluid secreted between the two layers of the tunica vaginalis (investing membrane). A secondary hydrocele is secondary to either inflammation or a neoplasm in the testis.
A hydrocele usually occurs on one side. The accumulation can be a marker of physical trauma, infection or tumor, but the cause is generally unknown.
A hydrocele is a fluid-filled sac surrounding a testicle that results in swelling of the
scrotum, the loose bag of skin underneath the penis. About one in 10 male infants has a
hydrocele at birth, but most hydroceles disappear without treatment within the first year of life. Additionally, men usually older than 40 can develop a hydrocele due to
inflammation or injury within the scrotum.
Hydroceles usually aren’t painful. Typically not harmful, hydroceles may require no
treatment. However, if you have scrotal swelling, see your doctor to rule out other causes, such as testicular cancer or other conditions
A hydrocele feels like a small fluid filled balloon inside the scrotum. It is smooth, and is
mainly in front of one of the testes. Hydroceles vary greatly in size. Hydroceles are
normally painless and harmless. Large hydroceles cause discomfort because of their size. As the fluid of a hydrocele is transparent, light shone through a hydrocelic region will be
visible from the other side.
Symptoms of a hydrocele can easily be distinguished from testicular cancer, as a hydrocele is soft and fluidy, where a testicular cancer feels hard and rough.
Through diagnostic ultrasound the accumulation of fluids can be diagnosed correctly.
For baby boys, a hydrocele can develop in the womb. At about 28 weeks of gestation, the
testicles descend from the developing baby’s abdominal cavity into the scrotum. A sac
(processus vaginalis) accompanies each testicle, allowing fluid to surround them.
In most cases, the sac closes and the fluid is absorbed. However, if the fluid remains after
the sac closes, the condition is known as a noncommunicating hydrocele. Because the sac is closed, fluid can’t flow back into the abdomen. Usually the fluid gets absorbed within a
In some cases, however, the sac remains open. With this condition, known as communicating hydrocele, the sac can change size or, if the scrotal sac is compressed, fluid can flow back into the abdomen.
In older males, a hydrocele can develop as a result of inflammation or injury within the
scrotum. Inflammation may be the result of infection of the small coiled tube at the back of each testicle (epididymitis) or of the testicle (orchitis).
Most hydroceles are present at birth (congenital). Otherwise, the condition generally
affects men 40 or older. Risk factors include:
Complications may occur from hydrocele treatment.
Risks related to hydrocele surgery may include:
- Blood clots
- Injury to the scrotal tissue or structures
Risks related to aspiration and sclerosing may include:
- Mild-to-moderate pain in the scrotal area
- Return of the hydrocele
When to seek medical advice
See your doctor if you experience scrotal swelling. It’s important to rule out other
possible causes for the swelling, such as a tumor. Sometimes a hydrocele is associated with an inguinal hernia, in which a weak point in the abdominal wall allows a loop of intestine to extend into the scrotum and which may require treatment.
For your child
In infants, a hydrocele typically disappears on its own. However, if your baby’s hydrocele
doesn’t disappear after a year or if it enlarges, you may need to have it evaluated.
Screening and diagnosis entails a physical exam, which may reveal an enlarged scrotum that isn’t tender to the touch. Pressure to the abdomen or scrotum may enlarge or shrink the
fluid-filled sac, which may indicate an associated inguinal hernia.
Because the fluid in a hydrocele usually is clear, your doctor may shine a light through the scrotum (transillumination). With a hydrocele, the light will outline the testicle,
indicating that clear fluid surrounds it. If your doctor suspects your hydrocele is caused by inflammation, blood and urine tests may help determine whether you have an infection, such as epididymitis.
The fluid surrounding the testicle may keep the testicle from being felt. In that case,
further study may be needed. Possible tests include:
Ultrasound imaging. This test, which uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of structures inside your body, may be used to rule out a testicular tumor or other cause of
Abdominal X-ray. A basic X-ray uses electromagnetic radiation to make images of your bones, teeth and internal organs. An X-ray may distinguish a hydrocele from an inguinal hernia.
A hydrocele typically isn’t dangerous and usually doesn’t affect fertility. However, it may be associated with an underlying testicular condition that may cause serious complications:
*Infection or tumor. Either may impair sperm production or function.
*Inguinal hernia. A loop of intestine could become trapped in the weak point in the
abdominal wall (strangulated), a life-threatening condition.
For baby boys, hydroceles typically disappear on their own within a year. If a hydrocele
doesn’t disappear after a year or if it continues to enlarge, it may need to be surgically
For adult males as well, hydroceles often go away on their own. A hydrocele requires
treatment only if it gets large enough to cause discomfort or disfigurement. Then it may
need to be removed.
Surgical excision (hydrocelectomy). . The procedure is called hydrocelectomy, the tunica vaginalis is excised, the fluid drained, and the edges of the tunica are sutured to prevent the reaccumulation of fluid.
If the hydrocele is not surgically removed, it may continue to grow. The hydrocele fluid can be aspirated, the procedure is less invasive but recurrence rates are high. Sclerotherapy, the injection of a solution following aspiration of the hydrocele fluid may increase success rates. In many patients, the procedure of aspiration and sclerotherapy is repeated as the hydrocele recurrs.
Needle aspiration. Another option is to remove the fluid in the scrotum with a needle. This treatment isn’t widely used because it’s common for the fluid to return. The injection of a
thickening or hardening (sclerosing) drug after the aspiration may help prevent the fluid
from reaccumulating. Aspiration and injection may be an option for men who have risk factors that make surgery more dangerous. Risks of this procedure include infection and scrotal pain.
Sometimes, a hydrocele may recur after treatment.
Generally, a simple hydrocele goes away without surgery. If surgery is necessary, it is a simple procedure for a skilled surgeon, and usually has an excellent outcome.
Homeopathic Treatment & Medicines of Hydrocoele –
Following homeopathic medicines are known to help in cases of hydrocoele – Apis, Aurum-met, Calc-c, Con, Flour-acid, Graph, Iod, Kali-iod, Puls, Rhod, Selen, Sil, Spong.
Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.