Hydrocele is a pathological condition affecting the testis. Testis is a paired male gonads located in the sac-shaped scrotum outside the abdominal cavity. Each testicle has a number of protective layers around it and it is nourished by blood vessels coming to the testis from abdomen through the inguinal canal. The hydrocele means accumulation of fluid between the layers of the testicle.
The reason of fluid accumulation is often not clear. Sometimes we assume a simple imbalance between fluid production and absorption. Other times, hydrocele may be caused by a local irritation and inflammation due to injuries, infections or tumors.
Hydrocele causes painless enlargement of the affected testis. Other symptoms are usually not present. However, similar symptoms are present also in testicular tumors and therefore it should not be underestimated.
Any testicular enlargement should be examined by a urologist including scrotal ultrasound that reveals presence of fluid within testicular layers and excludes any tumor mass.
The treatment is usually not needed as the fluid is often absorbed without any medical intervention. If there is a large amount of the fluid, or when it shows no tendency to disappear, it is possible to perform a surgical intervention to cut the layers of the testicle and drain the fluid. When the problem recurs, it is possible to sew the layers together to prevent further accumulation of the fluid.