A hydrocele is a fluid-filled sac in the scrotum. Hydroceles are common in newborn infants. Dr. Jerman, can you tell us more about hydroceles?
Sure, Dr. Reynolds. During a baby's development in the womb, the testicles descend from the abdomen through a canal, called the inguinal ring, into the scrotum. Hydroceles occur in children when the inguinal ring stays open or reopens, allowing a small amount of fluid from the belly into the scrotum. This causes the scrotum to swell.
Hydroceles in adulthood may be caused by swelling from injury to the testicle or epididymis, from an infection, or for other reasons that remain unknown.
A hydrocele may occur on one or both sides, but they more frequently affect the right side. Hydroceles are generally painless, but they can cause the testicle to feel swollen, like a water balloon.
Many hydroceles in children go away on their own within a few months. In adults, if they cause infection or discomfort, they may require surgical treatment.