Hydrocele

A hydrocele is a benign collection of fluid in the scrotum or along the spermatic cord.

Overview

A hydrocele is a benign collection of fluid in the scrotum or along the spermatic cord. It presents as a painless and firm, elastic swelling. Hydroceles can be congenital or triggered by specific causes, such as an inflammation, operation or accident. Depending on the patient's age and symptoms, the doctor can wait until the hydrocele disappears on its own or decide to do an operation.

Symptoms

  • Painless, firm, elastic swelling
  • Location: groin, spermatic cord or scrotum
  • Increasing size and weight
  • On one or both sides

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Primary hydrocele
    • Congenital (develops before birth)
  • Secondary hydrocele

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Physical examination of testicles
  • Shining a light through the scrotum (transillumination)
  • Ultrasound (search for fluid)
Possible therapies
  • Wait and see
    • Can disappear spontaneously (primary hydrocele)
    • No symptoms
    • Operation isn't necessary
  • Treatment of an underlying disease (secondary hydrocele)
  • Operation
    • Doesn’t disappear on its own by the age of 1
    • Depending on size and symptoms
    • Simultaneous groin hernia
  • Aspiration of fluid

What can I do myself?

  • Prevention isn’t possible
  • If you have a hydrocele:
    • Don’t wear tight clothes
    • Depending on the size, let testicles rest on a soft roll when lying down

When to see a doctor?

  • Specifically for babies
    o Examination by paediatrician to identify a groin hernia, if any
    o Doesn't disappear by the age of 1
  • Hydrocele increases in size
  • Hard knots/rough patches in/on testicles
  • Hydrocele is painful, testicular pain
  • Aesthetic reasons

Synonyms

hydrocele, testicular hydrocele, hydrocele testis

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CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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