What is a Hydrocele?
A hydrocele is a collection of fluid in the scrotum. It is most common in infants. But, this can occur at any stage in life, for many reasons.
Why does this happen?
In infants, it is often caused by fluid that drains down from the abdominal cavity. During fetal development, the testicles passed along this channel and dropped into the scrotum. If this channel fails to close, it causes one or both of the scrotal sacs to swell and enlarge. It is painless. Most often, it does not cause other symptoms or harm to the testicles.
What is the difference between non-communicating and communicating hydroceles?
If fluid remains around the testicle after the channel has sealed, this is called a non-communicating hydrocele. Non-communicating means that the fluid cannot flow back up into the abdomen. In infants, the fluid will most often be absorbed by the body over time. Most likely, your child will not need surgery.
If the channel remains open, the fluid can flow back and forth into the abdomen. This is called a communicating hydrocele. This type of hydrocele may appear smaller in the morning and larger in the evening.
Does this condition require surgery?
When the hydrocele is small and painless and the child is young, no treatment is needed. Your child's doctor may think about surgery to close this channel if your child is over one year of age, has scrotal pain, or a major size difference.
Refer to Health Facts for You #5195 (Infant Hydrocele Repair) for after-surgery care if needed.
If you have any questions please call us at the American Family Children's Hospital - Pediatric Urology Clinic 608-263-6420.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 04/18/2011
Copyright © 04/18/2011 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7182
Print Health Fact For You