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Hydroceles and Inguinal Hernias

Hydroceles and inguinal (groin) hernia are mainly seen in males. Hydroceles are caused as a result of fluid accumulating in the scrotum. Meanwhile inguinal hernias result when a part of the intestine passes down into the scrotum from an unclosed testicular channel.

Testicles normally descend from the abdomen in the last part of the pregnancy. To allow this, the muscle rings on each side of the groin relax and allow the testicle to drop down into the scrotum. At the same time, the lining of the abdomen also stretches to extend lower and cover the inside the scrotum as well. Once this process is completed the muscle rings become tight and close the channel between the abdomen and the scrotum.

In some cases, this channel remains open and can cause fluid from the abdomen or a part of the intestine to pass into the scrotum, causing hydroceles and inguinal hernia, respectively. Also, hydroceles are rarely caused due to an injury to the scrotum. Hernias are also caused due to excessive pressure on the abdomen which can force a part of the intestine through a weakened abdominal wall.

What are the symptoms of a hernia?

Most hernia cases are without any form of pain or discomfort even, apart from the noticeable bulge which is often seen at the joint between the thigh and the groin. Pain and discomfort is usually seen when a part of the hernia is extensively invasive in the scrotum area.

What are the symptoms of hydroceles?

A small portion of children (around 10%) are born with Hydroceles as a condition. This seldom results in painful symptoms and usually goes away within the year. In older children, hydroceles can cause pain and discomfort with visible swelling in the scrotum.

How are hernias treated?

Normally, the doctor will advise a small surgical procedure to correct the loosened muscle ring in the groin. When hernia does not retract, it causes digestion problems and may lead to an emergency situation.

The surgical procedure requires making a small incision in the groin area to access the muscle ring and sew the channel shut after repairing the muscle ring. This is an outpatient surgical procedure and is completed in a short period of time.

How are hydroceles treated?

In case the hydroceles are causing painful symptoms, then surgical treatment is usually advised. In simple cases, the surgeon will make an incision and remove the tissue affected by the hydroceles.

In case of further complications, such as hernia, the surgeon will make an incision in the groin which allows to replace the herniated tissue back in its natural place and prevent further complications from arising.

What can be expected after treatment for hernias and hydroceles?

In case of pain after the surgery, the doctor will prescribe suitable pain medications, which helps to recuperate effectively in the first week of post-surgery. The surgeon or doctor will advise you how to take better care of the child according to the specific case.

Frequently asked questions:

Are hernias or hydroceles hereditary?

No. Hernias and hydroceles are common. And while several family members may experience them, there is no evidence that they are inherited. 

Do girls develop hydroceles and hernias?

Girls do not develop hydroceles. They can develop hernias but because of their anatomy, girls are 10 times less likely than boys to develop hernias.

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