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A hydrocele is a sac of fluid in the scrotum, the pouch of skin under the penis. The fluid surrounds the testicle, making it look swollen.

The most common symptom of a hydrocele is a swollen-looking testicle that feels like a water balloon.

Hydroceles can form around one or both testicles.

Hydroceles are common in babies, but boys and men of all ages develop them. They are generally not a serious problem.

Hydrocele: what you should know

  • Possible causes of a hydrocele include the following:
    • Fluid trapped in the scrotum during a baby’s development in the womb
    • Buildup in adults of the normal fluid around the testicle
    • Injury to the testicles
    • Inguinal hernia
  • In babies and children, a hydrocele generally will go away on its own, without medical treatment. But your doctor may recommend removing it in some cases:
    • If the hydrocele becomes infected
    • If it grows too large
    • If it appears to affect blood flow
  • In adults, hydroceles don’t usually go away on their own. But they usually are not harmful and need treatment only if they cause pain or discomfort.

How can I get help for hydrocele?

In most cases, hydroceles are not painful and do not require treatment. But if you have the following, you should see your doctor:

  • Pain or redness around the scrotum
  • A hydrocele so large that it causes discomfort
  • A hydrocele caused by a hernia

Care for hydroceles at Rush

Surgical removal is the only treatment for hydroceles.

Surgeons at Rush remove hydroceles through a simple surgical procedure. This procedure can usually be done on an outpatient basis, so you don’t have to stay in the hospital.

Why choose Rush for hydrocele care

Departments and programs that treat this condition