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.