Hydrocele is a common medical condition that affects males, particularly in the scrotum area. It occurs when fluid accumulates in the sac around the testicle, leading to swelling and discomfort. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and prevention options for hydrocele is crucial for managing this condition effectively.

Causes of Hydrocele

Hydrocele can be caused by various factors, including:

Congenital Factors

Congenital hydrocele occurs when fluid accumulates in the scrotum during fetal development. This type of hydrocele is common in newborns and infants but may resolve on its own within the first year of life.

Inflammation or Injury

Inflammation or injury to the scrotum or testicles can also lead to the development of hydrocele. Conditions such as epididymitis or trauma to the scrotal area may cause fluid buildup.


Infections, particularly in the genital area, can result in hydrocele. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or urinary tract infections (UTIs) may contribute to the accumulation of fluid in the scrotum.

Lymphatic Blockage

Blockage or damage to the lymphatic system can interfere with the drainage of fluid from the scrotum, leading to hydrocele.

Symptoms of Hydrocele

The primary symptom of hydrocele is swelling in the scrotum, which may vary in size and intensity. Other common symptoms include:

  • Heaviness or discomfort in the scrotum
  • Pain or tenderness, especially when standing or walking
  • Difficulty wearing tight clothing due to swelling


The primary symptom of hydrocele is swelling in the scrotum, which may be accompanied by discomfort or pain. Diagnosis is usually done through physical examination and imaging tests, such as ultrasound, to confirm the presence of fluid around the testicle. In this case, the affected testicle may be twice as large as the healthy testicle.

Treatment Options

There are several treatment options available for hydrocele, including:

  • Non-Surgical Treatments: These may include medication to reduce swelling or drainage of the fluid using a needle (aspiration). It should be done by and experienced doctor.
  • Surgical Options: Surgical procedures like hydrocelectomy may be recommended for persistent or severe cases of hydrocele.
  • Observation: In many cases, especially with congenital hydrocele in infants, observation without intervention may be recommended as the condition may resolve on its own.

Recovery and Prognosis

Recovery from hydrocele treatment is typically quick, with minimal complications. The prognosis is generally good, especially with early diagnosis and appropriate management.

Prevention Tips

While hydrocele may not always be preventable, certain measures can reduce the risk, such as avoiding injury to the scrotum and practicing good hygiene.

  • Maintain Good Hygiene: Keeping the genital area clean and dry can help prevent infections that may lead to inflammation and fluid accumulation in the scrotum.
  • Avoid Injury: Take precautions to prevent trauma or injury to the scrotum, such as wearing protective gear during sports activities or using caution when engaging in physical tasks that pose a risk of injury.
  • Practice Safe Sex: For sexually active individuals, practicing safe sex by using condoms can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that may contribute to the development of hydrocele.
  • Seek Prompt Medical Attention: If you notice any unusual symptoms in the scrotal area, such as swelling, pain, or discomfort, seek medical evaluation promptly. Early detection and treatment of underlying conditions can help prevent complications like hydrocele.
  • Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle: Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, can promote overall health and reduce the risk of certain medical conditions that may contribute to hydrocele.
  • Regular Medical Check-ups: Schedule regular check-ups with a healthcare provider, especially if you have a family history of hydrocele or other scrotal conditions. Routine medical examinations can help detect any potential issues early and facilitate timely intervention if needed.
  • Follow Treatment Recommendations: If you have a history of hydrocele or other scrotal conditions and receive treatment recommendations from a healthcare provider, follow them diligently to manage the condition effectively and prevent recurrence or complications.

Complications of Untreated Hydrocele

If left untreated, hydrocele can lead to complications such as infection, enlargement of the scrotum, or discomfort during daily activities. An untreated hydrocele may be responsible for these symptoms as Increased Risk of Infection, Chronic Pain and Discomfort, Impact on Fertility, Psychological Impact, Risk of Rupture

Living with Hydrocele

Living with hydrocele involves regular follow-ups with healthcare providers, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and addressing any concerns or symptoms promptly.

If hydrocele occurs, prolonged cycling should be avoided and a suspensory scotal bandage should be worn throughout the day as much as possible. One should rest regularly and take care not to injure the testicles while doing any work.

Hydrocele in Children

Hydrocele is also common in newborns and infants, often resolving on its own without treatment. However, medical evaluation is essential to rule out any underlying issues.

The main causes of hydrocele in children are typically related to the development of the reproductive system during fetal growth and early childhood. Here are the primary causes of hydrocele in children:

  • Patent Processus Vaginalis: This is the most common cause of hydrocele in infants and young boys. During fetal development, the testicles descend from the abdomen into the scrotum through a passage called the processus vaginalis. In some cases, this passage remains open after birth, allowing fluid to accumulate and causing a hydrocele.
  • Infection or Inflammation: Infections in the scrotum or surrounding areas can lead to inflammation and fluid buildup, resulting in a hydrocele. This can include infections caused by bacteria or viruses.
  • Trauma or Injury: Accidental trauma or injury to the scrotum can cause swelling and fluid accumulation, leading to a hydrocele.
  • Congenital Factors: Certain congenital conditions or abnormalities in the development of the scrotum and surrounding tissues can contribute to the development of hydrocele in children.
  • Genetic Predisposition: There may be a genetic component that predisposes some children to developing hydrocele, although specific genetic factors are not always clearly identified.
  • Other Medical Conditions: In rare cases, underlying medical conditions such as tumors or abnormalities in the lymphatic system can contribute to the formation of hydrocele in children.

Hydrocele vs. Other Conditions

It’s crucial to differentiate hydrocele from other conditions that may cause scrotal swelling, such as hernia or testicular torsion, as the treatment approaches vary.

FAQs About Hydrocele

How do they remove a hydrocele?

Hydrocele can be removed through surgical procedures such as hydrocelectomy. During hydrocelectomy, the surgeon makes an incision in the scrotum or groin area to access the hydrocele sac. The fluid is then drained, and the sac is either removed or repaired to prevent fluid accumulation.

Can hydrocele be cured naturally?

While some small hydroceles may resolve on their own without treatment, larger or persistent hydroceles often require medical intervention. Natural remedies alone may not cure hydrocele, but maintaining good hygiene, avoiding injury, and following a healthy lifestyle can help prevent complications.

Can walking reduce hydrocele?

Regular physical activity, including walking, can promote overall health and circulation but may not directly reduce hydrocele size. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider for appropriate treatment options if you have a hydrocele.

How can I reduce my hydrocele size without surgery?

Non-surgical approaches to reduce hydrocele size may include medication to reduce swelling or aspiration (draining the fluid with a needle). However, these methods may not provide a permanent solution, and surgical intervention may be necessary for long-term management.

How can I reduce my hydrocele size at home?

At-home measures to manage hydrocele may include wearing supportive underwear or a scrotal support, avoiding activities that worsen symptoms, practicing good hygiene, and applying cold packs to reduce swelling temporarily. However, these measures are not substitutes for medical evaluation and treatment by a healthcare professional.

What foods reduce hydrocele?

There is no specific diet or food known to reduce hydrocele directly. However, maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can support overall health and potentially reduce the risk of conditions that may contribute to hydrocele, such as infections or inflammation.


Hydrocele is a common condition characterized by fluid accumulation in the scrotum, leading to swelling and discomfort. Understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and prevention options for hydrocele is essential for effective management and improved quality of life.

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