What is Hydrocele?
A Hydrocele is a condition in which fluid is filled in the scrotum (the sac which holds the testicles). The condition is commonly seen in newborn babies and seldom in adults. It usually occurs on one side but may occur on both sides as well.
What are the Causes of Hydrocele?
The cause of Hydrocele is not known. In adults, it can be a result of infection, inflammation, and trauma to the testicles which can result in fluid accumulation in the sac. In newborn babies, it is a result of the failure of the scrotal sac to close and absorb the fluid.
Hydroceles usually do not cause pain. The only indication of a hydrocele is a painless swelling of one or both testicles. Adult men may feel heaviness in the scrotum. In some cases, the swelling might be worse in the morning than in the evening.
You should seek immediate medical attention if sudden, severe scrotal pain or swelling develops especially within several hours of an injury to the scrotum. The signs and symptoms can occur with several conditions like blocked blood flow in a twisted testicle.
Diagnosis of hydrocele is performed by physical examination by a doctor. If the hydrocele is present, the scrotum would look swollen and would be painless. The doctor won't be able to identify your testicle well because of the fluid in the sac.
During the exam, the doctor might check for tenderness and might shine a light through the scrotum to determine if there is any fluid in the scrotum. If the fluid is present, the scrotum would light up.
He might ask for a blood or urine sample to test for infection. Often the doctor might suggest an ultrasound to check for tumors, hernias, etc.
If the hydrocele causes no symptoms, one option is simply to leave it alone. You can use support to be more comfortable. If it becomes larger or troublesome, you can always go for surgical treatment. The surgical treatment for Hydrocele is called Hydrocelectomy.
Surgical drainage of the fluid inside the sac is done by the means of Hydrocelectomy. The surgery is done under spinal or local anesthesia. A small incision of approx. 1-2 cm is made in the groin region or on the scrotum and the fluid is drained from around the testis. If there is a communication to the canal between the abdominal cavity and the scrotum, then it is sealed. The wound is closed with surgical sutures.
Some patients will go home with a small drain coming out of the surgical site to help remove any fluids from the tissue. The doctor usually will remove it in a day or two. Apart from this, the patient is advised to rest for a week, avoid heavy strenuous activity, keep the wound area clean and dry at all times, regular follow-ups, and recovery medicines as prescribed by the treating doctor.
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