Hydrocele- Overview, Causes, Symptoms, Types, and Treatment

A hydrocele is caused by fluid accumulating in the sac surrounding the testicles. Swelling can occur on either one or both sides.

What is the cause of hydroceles?

Male testicles travel down from the abdomen (belly area) and into the scrotum during pregnancy. This downward motion forms the processus vaginalis, a tunnel through which the lining of the abdomen extends into the scrotum. This tunnel usually closes on its own before birth. A hydrocele develops when the processus vaginalis does not completely close or when there is still fluid around the testicle at birth.



What are the different types of hydroceles?

There are three kinds of hydroceles

non-communicating hydrocele

When there is no connection between the abdomen and the scrotum, the condition is known as a non-communicating hydrocele. In this case, fluid is trapped around the testicle, but no new fluid enters the scrotum. Usually, the fluid will dissipate on its own. This is not a severe situation. A reactive hydrocele is a form of non-communicating hydrocele. This can happen throughout childhood if there is a trauma or illness that produces scrotal inflammation (swelling of the scrotum).

Spermatic cord hydrocele (also known as cord hydrocele) is less prevalent than scrotal hydrocele. It refers to the fluid that has accumulated along the spermatic cord (the vessels and duct that go to and from the testes). There are two kinds of cord hydroceles.

There is fluid in the spermatic cord but no entry into the abdomen or scrotum in an encysted hydrocele of the cord. Fluid cannot flow from the abdomen via the tunnel or farther down into the tunica vaginalis sac in the scrotum. Instead, the fluid accumulates in the spermatic cord. The fluid is generally absorbed by the body over time. This might take up to a year.

funicular hydrocele

A funicular hydrocele of the cord indicates that the processus vaginalis has not closed, allowing fluid to flow between the abdomen and the spermatic cord. When newborns scream or lie down, the region of the chord varies in size, similar to communicating scrotal hydroceles. A funicular hydrocele is more likely to necessitate surgical intervention.

What are the signs and symptoms of a hydrocele?

  • Hydroceles can manifest in a variety of ways
  • One or both sides of the scrotum have a smooth hump.
  • Scrotum swelling that is not painful
  • Changing scrotum size (getting smaller at night and larger during activity)

Diagnosis

If you observe any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your kid or yourself, you should see a doctor right once. A comprehensive physical examination is generally performed by the doctor to assess the degree of edoema and discomfort in the scrotum. He may also do various diagnostics, such as

  • Transillumination is a procedure in which the doctor directs light to the enlargement of the scrotum. In general, a hydrocele will have a fluid buildup and let light flow through. If there is a tumor, there is a solid mass of tissue that prevents light from passing through.
  • Ultrasound, CT-scan, MRI-scan, and other imaging methods are used.

What is the best way to treat a hydrocele?

Hydrocele or hernia therapy begins with an initial diagnosis and is followed by surgical therapies such as suction and hydrocelectomy.

Aspiration

Generally, a needle is used to remove the fluid.

Hydrocelectomy

A hydrocelectomy is a procedure to correct a hydrocele, which is a collection of fluids around a gonad. The majority of the time, a hydrocele will resolve on its own. If the hydrocele grows larger, it can cause swelling, agony, and pain in the scrotum and may necessitate surgical repair. Male children are the most prone to hydrocelectomy, however, it is possible to have hydrocelectomy as an adult as well.

What are the post-treatment instructions?

Following the operation, specific recommendations must be followed. The first is to avoid straining too much when having a bowel movement. This is because it might place undue strain on your groin and aggravate your discomfort. Irregular bowel motions are common following surgery, so be sure to incorporate fiber in your diet to fight this. You must refrain from vigorous physical activity for at least 48 hours following the procedure.

This is primarily due to the fact that you were under general anesthetic. As a result, you should not drive or operate any heavy machinery. For at least two weeks, refrain from lifting anything heavy. You are unable to ride a bike or bicycle.

Recovery

The recovery time following surgery is generally approximately two weeks on average, however, it might be somewhat longer or shorter. This is due to the fact that everyone reacts differently to operations and medications, and some individuals heal faster than others. The recovery from the condition is almost instantaneous.