Hydrocele overview

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Steven C. Campbell, M.D., Ph.D.


A hydrocele denotes a pathological accumulation of serous fluid in a bodily cavity. A hydrocele testis is the accumulation of fluids around a testicle, and is fairly common. It may be treated surgically. It can occur in infants undergoing peritoneal dialysis. A hydrocele testis is due to fluid secreted from a remnant piece of peritoneum wrapped around the testis in the tunica vaginalis. It can also be as a result of cancer, trauma (such as a hernia), or orchitis. It can also be the result of a plugged inguinal lymphatic system caused by repeated chronic infection of Wucheria bancrofti or Brugia malayi, two mosquito-borne parasites of Africa and S.E. Asia, respectively. As such the condition would be a part of more diffuse sequelae commonly referred to as elephantiasis.

Epidemiology and Demographics

Most hydroceles are present at birth (congenital). Otherwise, the condition generally affects men older than 40.


History and Symptoms

The main symptom is a painless, swollen testicle , which feels like a water balloon. A hydrocele may occur on one or both sides.


Primary Prevention

There is no way to prevent varicoceles in adults or hydroceles in baby boys . Avoid injury to the scrotum to prevent hydrocele in adult males.


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