Hydrocele refers to a condition where abdomen fluids from the body are secreted into the open track settling next to the testicles filing the scrotum (the sac that holds the testicles). It is pretty common in newborn babies. Studies show that about 10% of infants experience hydrocele.

Hydrocele – Symptoms and Causes

However, it clears up without treatments within a year. In adults, it is a rare condition to find as statistics suggest only 1% of adult men get affected by it. It tends to clear up on its own in about 6 months.

What Causes Hydrocele?

Testicles in a child are developed in his stomach. They move down into through a short tunnel into his scrotum which causes fluids to move with them. Just before childbirth, the tunnel and the scrotum are automatically sealed and the fluids are absorbed by the body.

If these fluids are not absorbed by the body or the scrotum and the passage are not sealed, it causes hydrocele. The conditions are called non-communicating and communicating hydrocele respectively. Communicating hydrocele might end up being troublesome for the child causing constant swelling and discomfort.

In men, if the passageway is opened again, fluids in the stomach might fill the scrotum causing hydrocele. Sometimes due to inflammation in the inner lining of the scrotum surrounding the testicles, men can experience hydrocele. Few of the other common causes are:

  • Blockage in spermatic cord – Scrotal injury, inflammation or rare genetic conditions is responsible for blockage of spermatic cords that to the build-up of semen. This obstruction causes fluids to stay in the cord and result in hydrocele.
  • Inguinal hernia injury – When there is increased pressure within the abdomen, part of the intestine drops into the scrotum. This causes swelling in the scrotum that leads to hydrocele.
  • Infection of the scrotum or a testicle- The bacterial infection in the scrotum or the testicles cause the fluids to be left unabsorbed, this leads to hydrocele.

How To Detect Hydrocele?

A hydrocele is generally painless, but it causes inconvenience in body functioning. This may be due to:

  • One or both sides of the scrotum become swollen that causes inconvenience and discomfort.
  • Scrotum becomes swollen and feels heavy.
  • The swelling might subside in the morning and gradually increase during the day.

All of the above-mentioned symptoms are related to cases when hydrocele is not a threat to the body and is expected to be treated on its own. However in a few cases, when hydrocele is a result of inflammation, infection due to STI or blockage might cause pain and form non-communicating hydrocele that results in greater pain and discomfort. The pain usually indicates a serious condition and should be immediately addressed and treated.

How to treat Hydrocele?

Hydrocele in children can occur during birth and can be treated on its own under the time span of a year. However, if the child is suffering from communicating hydrocele, doctors might recommend surgery. A small procedure will be done by a doctor called Hydrocelectomy to remove the fluids. The removal of fluids is followed by sealing the scrotum to further avoid spillage of fluids.  After the surgery, it is important to maintain the hygiene of the area and pay a visit to the doctor to confirm the healing and success of the operation

Hydrocele in adults can cure itself in a span of 6 months although, if the fluids fail to absorb themselves in the body, minor surgery is advised. It is very important to treat communicating hydroceles it can result in hernias.

It is very important to understand the signs signals of our body. Our bodies are capable to repair themselves if there are constant pain and discomfort, it might be an indication that something is wrong and should be prioritized. 

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