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When abdominal fluid flows into the scrotum and gets collected there, the condition is called hydrocele. It does not cause pain but swelling. In babies, hydrocele can disappear on its own. In adults, hydrocele is usually the result of either some inflammation or an injury of the scrotum.
Hydroceles are of two types:
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To better diagnose the condition, the specialist doctor will thoroughly perform a physical exam. If you have a hydrocele or your kid has it, you may find the scrotum is swollen. If the fluid is present, the scrotum will allow light transmission. Also, the doctor may apply pressure to the abdomen to check for other underlying conditions. The doctor may also ask you to cough or may take a blood or urine sample to check for any infections.
Open hydrocelectomy: This is a surgical procedure that is usually performed under the influence of general anesthesia. During this procedure, the surgeon makes a cut in the scrotum or groin area and drains out the fluid via suction. The surgeon then closes the communication to the canal between the abdominal cavity and the scrotum, before removing the hydrocele sac and closing the incisions with sutures or surgical strips.
Needle Aspiration– This technique is performed by inserting a needle in the scrotum while applying the suction to pull out the hydrocele. The doctor will try to extract as much fluid as possible from the sac. However, this procedure gives temporary relief but has higher chances of recurrence.
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If you have already undergone the surgery, you may experience pain in the area of the scrotum. Use OTC pain relievers or prescribed pain medications by your doctor to ease the pain. You can also use ice packs for the first 24 hours.
Hetrazan is an anthelmintic medicine that works for patients in which hydrocele occured due to filarial infection. This medicine will address the underlying cause and treat the symptoms, giving relief from the pain and discomfort.
Usually, there are no exercises that can effectively reduce hydrocele pain. All kinds of exercise will put excessive pressure on the scrotum and only aggravate the pain and discomfort (if it exists).
The primary reason for hydrocele more commonly occurring on the left side than the right is the length of the left renal vein. As the left vein is longer, it faces more difficulties in draining. That’s why the left testicle is more prone to developing hydrocele than the right one.
Yes. In fact, hydrocele is most common in newborns. This usually happens when the baby’s growth is disturbed during the gestation period. The tube between the scrotum and the abdomen doesn’t close properly, giving rise to hydrocele.
The right kind of doctor for hydrocele treatment is a doctor who specializes in treating conditions of the urinary and reproductive tract, i.e., a urologist.
No. Hydrocele isn’t usually dangerous. However, it may be a sign of another serious testicular condition, even cancer. Therefore, it is important that you get properly diagnosed and address the problem properly.
If a hydrocele bursts, the blood and fluid will leak out and may cause hematoceles. Fortunately, hydrocele rupture is a rare incidence.
Yes. A hydrocele may become infected either during sexual activities or during aspiration. If it happens, the inflammation and swelling will further increase, making it difficult for the patient to bear the pain.
Hydrocele rarely affects fertility. However, in rare conditions, a large-size hydrocele can compress the spermatic cord and cause testicular atrophy that will affect the male fertility to a certain extent.
A hydrocele is the accumulation of fluid in the scrotum whereas varicocele is the enlargement of the veins within the scrotum.
It is possible to treat hydrocele without operation by using the needle aspiration method. However, it won’t be a permanent cure as this method will only drain out the fluid and won’t address the cause of the hydrocele.
Hydrocele is divided into the following types:
Primary Hydrocele- In this type, the swelling is soft and nontender. It can grow very large in size as they are often asymptomatic. However, if left unattended, it may cause atrophy of the testis due to compression or obstruction of the blood supply.
Secondary Hydrocele- The hydrocele that occurs due to a testicular disease is called secondary hydrocele. The cause can be cancer, hernia, orchitis, or any other kind of trauma. Secondary hydrocele is most commonly associated with acute or chronic epididymo-orchitis. It often goes away when the primary lesion is treated.
Infantile hydrocele- This type of hydrocele has the tunica and processus vaginalis distended to the inguinal ring, but there is no direct connection of the hydrocele with the peritoneal cavity. It can occur in infants as well as adults.
Congenital Hydrocele- It is a type of hydrocele that connects with the general peritoneal cavity. Though the communication is very small, there is still a possibility that the fluid may drain into the peritoneal cavity.
Encysted hydrocele- In this type of hydrocele, there is a smooth oval swelling very close to the spermatic cord. Due to the swelling, many patients mistake it for inguinal hernia. It is also called spermatic cord hydrocele and has no communication with the peritoneal cavity.
Funicular hydrocele- In funicular hydrocele, the sac has a direct communication with the peritoneum connecting it with the internal inguinal ring. However, no connection exists between the sac and tunica vaginalis. It can grow very large in size due to straining.
During initial diagnosis, the doctor will identify which type of hydrocele you have and narrow down the complications associated with the procedure. Then the doctor will start the treatment right away.
Many people don’t know this, but the foods you eat on a regular basis can either improve the hydrocele symptoms or make them worse. Therefore, you should avoid the following foods to manage hydrocele symptoms:
Processed Items- These foods contain excess salt and sugar and have fiber content.
Preserved Foods- These foods are not good to eat because they have artificial preservatives and other chemicals.
Junk Foods- It includes food items like pizza, burger, fries, etc. that are low in nutritional value. They can cause indigestion and hinder the bowel movements as well.
Spicy and Heavy Foods- Minimize the spice intake as well if you have hydrocele. Excessive spices can upset the stomach and cause a lot of discomfort during bowel movements.
Pickles and Caffeine- These food products are also not good for the body and should be strictly avoided.
All these food items have a direct impact on the digestion process and the individual has a hard time passing stools. This will put strain on the groin region and worsen the hydrocele symptoms.
After you’ve had hydrocelectomy, the doctor will give you a detailed recovery plan to ensure that the wound heals quickly and you will be able to perform all activities without any difficulty. The most common tips that are included in the post-surgery care plan are given below:
Take complete bed rest immediately after the surgery for at least 1 day. Allow your body to heal at its own pace. Do not push yourself to perform an activity even if it hurts. Start taking small walks once you feel like you can. Make sure that you don’t indulge into strenuous exercises that can strain or put pressure on the stitches. Refrain yourself from lifting heavy weights for at least 2-4 weeks until you recover completely.
Post-surgery, you can eat your normal diet but make sure to stay away from oily, greasy, spicy, and processed food items as they can cause constipation and also slow down the healing process. Incorporate fiber-rich foods in your diet and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
Pay special attention to the hygiene of the scrotal region and keep it clean and dry. Wash the wound with warm water and mild soap, then pat it dry. In the first 2 days, the doctor will ask you to avoid bathing. So, do not take a shower until the doctor gives you permission. Do not take baths in hot tubs and avoid swimming as well until the wound heals completely.
Wear scrotal support or jockstrap for at least 1-2 weeks after hydrocele surgery. It will minimize the pressure in the scrotal region and allow you to perform regular activities without pain or discomfort. Avoid wearing tight clothes around the waist and groin area as they can irritate the scrotal region. Refrain from sexual activities as well until the doctor says it’s fine.
When you follow the doctor’s instructions properly, it becomes a lot easier to resume the daily activities and get back to the regular life after hydrocelectomy.
There is no assured way to prevent hydrocele in a baby. However, in adults, hydrocele usually occurs due to some infection, inflammation, or injury that can be avoided. Here are some preventative tips that will help:
Proper prenatal care Try to avoid being injured, follow the safety & protection rules like wearing athletic cups or support while playing sports.
Practice safe sex to reduce the chances of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Avoid pressure activities like horse riding that can put pressure on the scrotum. Treat cough properly as recurrent and chronic cough creates intra abdominal pressure and puts strain on the scrotum. Address constipation as soon as possible. Appropriate care should be taken to prevent hernia and if you already have it, get proper treatment to reduce the chances of hydrocele development. In rare cases, hydrocele may also develop due to hereditary issues, such as a side effect of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Therefore, it is also important that you keep a watch on your health and take the necessary measures to prevent hydrocele.
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