Hydrocele - Symptoms, Risk factors and Treatment

Hydrocele is a condition in which fluid fills inside the scrotum, causing it to swell. It is not a serious condition but can be embarrassing and bothering. Moreover, it is common in infants as compared to men. Mostly it occurs in babies and disappears by the age of 1 without any treatment. However, it can occur in older-aged boys and adults due to inflammation and injury to the scrotum. It is not generally painful and does not need any such treatment. But if your scrotum swells, you should visit the healthcare provider to rule out other causes for it. 

Types 


Hydrocele can be classified as; 


  • Communicating hydrocele

  • Non-communicating hydrocele



Communicating Hydrocele


A type of hydrocele in which it remains in contact with the abdominal cavity. It occurs due to failure of processus vaginalis. If the child has communicating hydrocele, it will cause the baby’s scrotum to swell and appear large in size. It occurs when the sac surrounding the testicles does not close at all. Due to which fluid flows in and out. 


Non communicating Hydrocele


It occurs when the body does not absorb the fluid of the scrotum that may be absorbed into the body in one year. In non-communicating hydrocele, the inguinal canal closes, but still, there is fluid left around the testicles in the scrotum. It can be present at birth or may occur afterward in old age. 


Causes


Generally, when a baby is in the developing stage, his testes are present in the abdomen that descends downwards when a baby is born. It has fluid that surrounds it, which is absorbed back within one year. A child whose scrotum fluid is not absorbed back has hydrocele- a condition in which fluid fills around the scrotum- a pouch that holds testes. The risk of hydrocele is greater in premature babies. 


However, it can occur in adults aged over 40 too if;


The channel through which the testicles descend has not closed completely, and it reopens such that the fluid enters. It can cause the fluid from the abdomen to move towards the scrotum. 


Inflammation or injury of the scrotum 


Symptoms 


Hydroceles usually do not cause any symptoms except painless swelling of one or both testicles. If an adult man has hydrocele, it may cause mild heaviness due to swollen scrotum. 


Risk factors


Babies born prematurely are at risk of developing a hydrocele. In most babies, it is present at the time of birth and resolves within 1 year. It can occur later in life due to injury or inflammation to the scrotum or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 


Complications 


A hydrocele usually does not lead to any such complications because it is not harmful or causes fertility issues. But it can be associated with any underlying conditions like;


Infection or testicular cancer- that can reduce the number of sperm and their health. 


Inguinal hernia- a condition in which a loop of intestine is trapped in the abdominal wall, that can, lead to life-threatening complications. 


Therefore you should visit the healthcare provider soon as you notice any swelling in your scrotum. 



Conclusion 


Hydrocele is a condition in which fluid fills inside the scrotum, causing it to swell. It is not a serious condition but can be embarrassing and bothering. Hydrocele is more common in children, and it often resolves within one year of birth. Mostly, it does not require any treatment because it is harmless and does not cause pain or affect fertility. However, swelling of the scrotum can occur due to other conditions too. Therefore you should visit the healthcare provider soon as you notice any swelling in your scrotum. 


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