Also known as: fluid in the scrotum.

What are hydroceles?

A hydrocele is a collection of fluid in the sac surrounding the testis lying in the scrotum. It usually occurs on one side but may occur over both testicles.

What causes hydroceles?

Normally when the testes move from the abdomen to the scrotum during the seventh month of fetal development in the womb, the passage which allows this to happen closes. If it doesn’t close completely, fluid from the abdomen can collect in it (communicating hydrocele), which is why it’s common in newborn babies (particularly in premature infants); in older boys (where the connecting channel is usually closed and where more fluid is produced than can be reabsorbed-non-communicating hydrocele) it may occur during puberty, or it may be associated with an injury to the testis, infection, some kidney diseases, torsion (twisting) of the testis or a testicular tumor (reactive hydrocele).

What are the symptoms of hydroceles?

The swelling of a communicating hydrocele may increase in size when your baby cries or is active, and get smaller when quiet. These often disappear by one year of age. Usually the swelling of a hydrocele is painless.

What are hydroceles care options?

In the newborn baby, most communicating hydroceles resolve on their own. For non-communicating or reactive hydroceles, treating the underlying cause and surgery is required.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: September 27, 2019 04:09 PM