Hydrocele, or a swollen scrotum due to fluid accumulation, is very common in newborn babies, but it can also appear at any age. Any time you experience scrotal swelling, it’s important to have it examined by the team at Associated Urologists of North Carolina. They have extensive experience in determining the exact cause of the problem and providing effective treatment. If you have questions about hydrocele or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call one of the seven offices in Apex, Cary, Clayton, Clinton, Dunn, Raleigh, and Wake Forest, North Carolina today.
A hydrocele is swelling in the scrotum that occurs when fluid accumulates in the membrane surrounding the testicles. It’s common for newborn babies to have a hydrocele that develops when the testicles descend from the abdomen (where they develop) into the scrotum.
A ring of muscles opens to let the testes descend. If this opening doesn’t close right away, fluid from the abdomen gets into the scrotum, causing hydrocele. Hydrocele in babies typically goes away within one year without needing treatment.
Young boys, adolescents, and adult men can develop a hydrocele due to testicular injury, an accumulation of fluids, inflammation, and infection.
The primary symptom of a hydrocele is painless swelling in one or both testicles. You may develop pain as the inflammation increases, or you may notice that the swelling is smaller in the morning and gets larger as the day goes on.
A swollen scrotum should always be evaluated by the doctors at Associated Urologists of North Carolina to determine if the underlying cause is a hydrocele or another problem.
If you develop sudden, severe scrotal swelling or pain, you should seek immediate care. These symptoms may be due to a condition that blocks blood flow, such as a twisted testicle, which must be treated within hours to save the testicle.
The doctors at Associated Urologists of North Carolina can often diagnose hydrocele with a physical examination and by shining a light through the scrotum, a simple technique that shows fluid surrounding the testicle. However, they may also order blood work or diagnostic imaging such as ultrasound to rule out infections and other causes of scrotal swelling.
Hydroceles are most often treated by surgically draining the fluid and removing or repositioning the sac; this is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure called hydrocelectomy. Following your surgery, your doctor may leave a tube in place to continue draining fluid for several days.
While a needle could be used to withdraw the fluid, hydroceles return when this treatment is used. For this reason, surgery is the preferred treatment.
If you or your child develop swelling in your scrotum, schedule an evaluation at Associated Urologists of North Caroline by calling one of the offices today.