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Hydrocele in Adults and baby: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Hydrocele is a common symptom of fluid-filled cavities, usually occurring in males and females are less prone to it. This condition can occur in both adults and in babies, an abnormal build-up of fluid take place near scrotal sac, in males.

It is common medical condition and non-harming in 90% of the cases, but do not take up it easily for a 10% chance. If it is normal there is no need for the treatment, but an abnormal Hydrocele can be a reason for tumors and other complicated symptoms.

What is Hydrocele?

It is a common medical condition that can occur in both adults and babies, usually occurring in males but females can also be affected. Hydrocele does not cause any particular problem but they are uncomfortable, especially in adults.

The swollen scrotum in males and the canal of Nuck in females are the internal organs where hydrocele can occur. It is very rare in females, and 10% of new-born male babies can have hydrocele.

Symptoms of Hydrocele

Hydrocele in males mainly has three symptoms, and sometimes it remains unnoticed until or unless it becomes very heavy. People usually think that it might be a tumor or bacterial infection but it is not. The common symptoms of Hydrocele in both adults and babies are:

  • Swelling in the scrotal sac, usually, it is a painless swelling and observed when it causes discomfort.
  • It feels like heaviness in the scrotum region and may experience sensations and discomfort in the scrotum because of increased size.
  • If there is more and higher swelling in the scrotum then it causes pain in the scrotal sacs. And it feels like mild discomfort and pain with heaviness.

Causes of Hydrocele in the Adults

In adults, it is caused by the partial opening of the inguinal canal and other reasons including injury, inflammation, and infection. Sometimes inguinal hernia also causes this condition. When it is accompanied by infection then it will be painful.

  • Infection,  injury and inflammation may be other reasons for developing Hydrocele.
  • If there is a condition of inguinal hernia then, there are chances of pain in the scrotal sac.
  • Infectious hydroceles are more swollen than simple fluid filling the cavity of the scrotal sac.

Types of Hydrocele in Adults and Reason for Developing Hydrocele

There are two types of Hydrocele and there are different reasons for both to occur in males and adults.

  • Communicating Hydrocele

This is a condition when the inguinal canal remains open and allows fluid to pass back and forth. The inguinal canal is a tract that connects the abdomen with the scrotal sac. If it remains open it allows abdominal fluid to enter in the scrotal sac, and it will cause Hydrocele.

  • Non-communicating Hydrocele

This kind of Hydrocele mostly occurs in infants and babies. And it occurs because the inguinal ring does not close properly at the time foetal development. And allows fluid to pass through the inguinal canal, mostly it is cured by itself after birth. Scrotal cells absorb this fluid, sometimes it take months other time it is a year to cure.

Diagnosis of Hydrocele in Adults

It is diagnosed by simple physical tests or by observing the shape of the scrotal sac by qualified doctors. Physical examination is done by feeling fluid fluid-filled cavity of the scrotal sac. The doctor used to cover their hands before observing physically scrotal sac.

Another method is trans illumination which is physically a torch. When a beam of light passes through a fluid-filled cavity then it is a hydrocele, and light does not pass from solid material. Otherwise, it may be a tumor on the scrotal sac, and it is diagnosed further.

In case of non-conforming conditions, ultrasound is used to detect and diagnose possible tumors in the scrotal sac. Both fluid and tumor can be observed in the ultrasound.

Treatment of Hydrocele

Most of the time hydrocele does not cause any discomfort and doctors suggest taking easy medication to drain fluid. Sometimes it is also cured without any further intervention in the scrotal cavity. Other medical treatment options are:

  • Aspiration if the fluid is done with the help of a syringe, and fluid is drained out from the scrotal sac. It is done in large swelling and discomfort cases.
  • There’re terminal option is surgery usually done in case of small tumors. And the hydrocele sac is removed.
  • Hydrocelectomy is the surgical name of the treatment of hydrocele in which the sac is removed, and it is done in severe conditions.

Hydrocele in Babies, Cause, Symptoms, and Treatment

Mostly communicating Hydrocele occur in babies and the primary cause is partially opened inguinal rings. And fluid is get trapped in the sac, usually it gets cured by itself and the doctor does not intervene. But a close observation is needed and parents and doctors keep observing. It may take one year to complete the draining of fluid. Testicle membrane absorbs fluid in most of cases.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hydrocele in Babies

Paediatricians observe Hydrocele in babies by physical examination or illumination method. Ultrasound is done in severe cases and rare need of such examination. Congenital Hydroceles are charged in a year by themselves. If it is a very large scrotal sac because of the filling of fluid, then surgery is an option.

In the case of communicating hydroceles channel between the abdomen and scrotal sac needed to be closed. Is done surgically by doctors, severe conditions are needed to be operated on.


Hydrocele is not a complicated disease and it can occur at any age of life, mostly in males. Although it is a common symptom but can occur in adults as a result of injury or inflammation. There are also chances of an infectious Hydrocele, thus it can not be ignored completely.

If you are having such symptoms then increase your steps toward diagnosis and treatment. Some hydroceles are caused by tumors also, get connected to Dr. Saket Narnoli, for more information and suggestions.