Hydrocele – Symptoms
- Most often, the only sign of a Hydrocele is a painless swelling around the scrotum (the sac holding the testicles).
- Adult men might experience heaviness around the swollen scrotum.
- The swelling may reduce in size in the morning and grow larger later in the day.
- At times, there may be redness or pain around the swelling.
Hydrocele – Causes
Some male babies are born with a Hydrocele. When babies develop in the womb, the testicles move from the baby’s abdomen to the scrotum. Sometimes the passage which allows this does not close completely, resulting in a Hydrocele.
The causes for adult Hydrocele may include –
- A fluid leak from the abdomen into the scrotum
- Blockage in the spermatic cord
- Physical injury
- An Inguinal hernia surgery
- Inflammation of sac linings surrounding the testicles
- An infection in the scrotum or testes
Hydrocele – Diagnosis
Hydroceles are usually diagnosed with a physical examination that might include the following –
- The doctor may feel the testes for tenderness – If it is a Hydrocele, the doctor will not be able to feel the testicles because of the fluid filled in the sac.
- Shining a light behind the testicles – In presence of fluid, light will be transmitted. However, if this swelling is cancerous, light will not pass through it.
- Checking for Inguinal hernia by applying pressure to the abdomen and scrotum.
Additionally, your doctor may order blood tests, urine tests and an Ultrasound.
Hydrocele – Treatment
Generally, a Hydrocele clears up by itself. However, if they don’t disappear eventually after a long period, then surgery may be required.
In infants, an operation is not advised until they grow to 1-2 years of age.
In adults, if a Hydrocele lasts longer than 6 months, then a surgery or Aspiration procedure may be required.
- Hydrocele removal surgery or Hydrocelectomy – An incision is made in the scrotum to remove the Hydrocele.
- Aspiration method – A fine needle is inserted into the scrotum, towards the Hydrocele and all the fluid is drawn out using suction.
Hydrocele – Risks & Complications
If you leave a Hydrocele untreated, it can cause multiple complications including:
- Rupture due to the fluid, if you have a large Hydrocele.
- Infection of the fluid present in the Hydrocele, which can cause pus.
The aspiration procedure poses a higher risk of recurrence of swelling. There are no major risks associated with Hydrocele removal surgery or Hydrocelectomy.
Hydrocele – Pre Op Care
- Avoid eating or drinking anything 6 hours before the scheduled time of surgery.
- The skin in the abdominal and genital area may be shaved clean of hair.
- You may be recommended an enema or laxative to clear bowels before surgery or the night before.
- You may be prescribed antibiotics or painkillers before surgery.
Hydrocele – Post Op Care
- You may use the prescribed medication to ease the pain.
- You may apply ice packs for the first 24 hours.
- Restrict strenuous activities.
- Keep the site of the wound clean and dry.
- Avoid bathing for a week.
- You may have to wear a jockstrap for about 2-4 weeks to support the scrotum.