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Hydrocele FAQs

Following are the common questions about Hydrocele:

  1. What is a hydrocele?
  2. What are the symptoms of a hydrocele?
  3. What are the types of hydrocele?
  4. Why does a hydrocele occur in children?
  5. Does a hydrocele go away on its own?
  6. Is there any non-surgical treatment method for hydrocele?
  7. Does hydrocele surgery hurt?
  8. How is a hydrocele treated?
  9. What will happen if a hydrocele is left untreated?
  10. How much does hydrocele surgery cost?
  11. Is hydrocele treatment covered under insurance?
  12. How long does it take to recover after hydrocele surgery?
  13. What complications can arise after hydrocele surgery?
  14. What foods should be avoided if I have a hydrocele?
  15. Can hydrocele be prevented?

Q. What is a hydrocele?

A. Hydrocele is a condition in which excess fluid starts to deposit in the scrotum. Due to the fluid accumulation, the scrotum starts to swell. It usually occurs in baby boys. In adult males, hydrocele occurs due to inflammation, infection, or some kind of surgery to the scrotum.

Q. What are the symptoms of a hydrocele?

A. Hydrocele typically doesn't cause any symptoms. It is painless and rarely causes any kind of discomfort. The only symptoms that are noticeable include-

  • Swelling in the scrotum
  • Feeling of heaviness

Q. What are the types of hydrocele?

A. Primarily, hydrocele is categorized into communicating and non-communicating hydrocele. In communicating hydrocele, there is an open channel between the abdominal cavity and scrotum. In the non-communicating type, the inguinal canal is closed but extra fluid still accumulates in the scrotal sac.

Other than that, the communicating hydrocele is divided into further types-

  • Primary Hydrocele
  • Secondary Hydrocele
  • Infantile hydrocele
  • Congenital Hydrocele
  • Encysted hydrocele
  • Funicular hydrocele

Q. Why does a hydrocele occur in children?

A. Before childbirth, the testis comes down to the scrotum from the abdominal cavity. There is a connection between the abdomen and scrotum called Processus Vaginalis which closes right around the time of birth. However, in some children, the pathway doesn't close and the connection stays open. Due to this, the abdominal fluid enters the sac in the scrotum and leads to the development of a hydrocele.

Q. Does a hydrocele go away on its own?

A. Normally, a hydrocele goes away on its own in children when the Processus Vaginalis closes after birth. However, in adult males, it doesn’t resolve on its own. The person will most likely need surgical treatment for hydrocele.

Q. Is there any non-surgical treatment method for hydrocele?

A. There are no medications available for hydrocele treatment, however, there is one non-surgical procedure- needle aspiration. In the procedure, a needle is injected into the sac and the fluid is drained. This reduces the swelling in the scrotum.

However, with this technique, the chances of hydrocele recurrence are higher as the primary cause is not resolved. The permanent solution is closing the open communication between the testicles and peritoneum.

Q. Does hydrocele surgery hurt?

A. No. Hydrocele surgery doesn’t hurt because general or local anesthesia is given to the patient before carrying out the procedure. This ensures that there are no sensations in the surgical site and the patient doesn’t feel any kind of pain or discomfort during the surgery. The anesthesia will take a while to wear off and after that, you may start feeling mild pain. To manage the pain, the doctor will also prescribe some pain medications.

Q. How is a hydrocele treated?

A. The best solution for hydrocele is surgical repair. The step-by-step procedure is explained below-

  • Before the procedure, anesthesia is given to the patient to numb the body.
  • The surgeon makes an incision in the scrotum or the groin region to access the sac filled with liquid.
  • All of the liquid is drained properly and the communication channel is closed properly.
  • The incision is closed properly with stitches and covered with bandages.

Q. What will happen if a hydrocele is left untreated?

A. If left untreated for a long time, the fluid will continue to accumulate and the following complications may arise-

  • The hydrocele may rupture due to excessive accumulation.
  • Haemotocele may start to form that can cause spontaneous bleeding in the sac.
  • Sexual dysfunction is another complication that may affect sperm quality and production.
  • Permanent damage to the testis can also happen due to testicular torsion.
  • Testicular atrophy may also happen if the spermatic cord is damaged or affected and lead to fertility issues as well.

Q. How much does hydrocele surgery cost?

A. The cost of hydrocele surgery or hydrocelectomy is around Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 50,000. However, this is only an estimate and the final cost may vary depending on the factors below-

  • Severity of the condition
  • Doctor’s consultation and operating fee
  • Choice of the hospital
  • Diagnostic tests
  • Hospital admission, discharge, and bed charges
  • Post-surgery support
  • Follow-up consultations

Q. Is hydrocele treatment covered under insurance?

A. Yes. Hydrocele treatment is covered under insurance policies provided by different companies. It can cause serious lifestyle problems which is why its treatment is considered critical. You can talk to the insurance providers about the coverage and find out the plausible methods that will allow you to cover the entire expense of the treatment.

Q. How long does it take to recover after hydrocele surgery?

A. The complete recovery after hydrocelectomy will take around 2-3 weeks at least. The patient will be able to get back to work and resume other activities within 4 to 7 days. But it is necessary to take precautions until the doctor gives permission to perform all activities. For instance, it is important to abstain from sexual activities for 2-3 weeks as such activities will increase the blood flow in the scrotum and may lead to complications. Therefore, it is better if you listen to the doctor’s advice and take follow-ups regularly to monitor the progress.

Q. What complications can arise after hydrocele surgery?

A. Similar to any other surgical procedure, hydrocele surgery also has several risks. If the patient is not careful at home, the following complications can arise during the recovery-

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots or hematoma
  • Fluid accumulation or seroma
  • Recurrence of the hydrocele
  • Negative effects due to anesthesia

Most of these complications can be avoided with proper measures.

Q. What foods should be avoided if I have a hydrocele?

A. The food a person eats has a significant impact on overall health. It can either help to improve the symptoms or make them worse. To ensure that a specific food item doesn’t aggravate the symptoms, the following foods should be avoided-

  • Processed foods that contain excess salt and sugar.
  • Preserved foods that have artificial preservatives and other chemicals.
  • Junk foods, such as pizza, burger, fries, etc. that has low nutritional value.
  • Spicy and heavy foods like chilli noodles, chilli sauce, and meats like beef, pork, mutton, etc.
  • Caffeine in soft drinks and coffee.

These foods affect the digestion process and cause constipation that would cause straining during bowel movements and worsen hydrocele symptoms.

Q. Can hydrocele be prevented?

A. Generally, there is no assured way to prevent a hydrocele in a baby. However, in adult males, the causes can be controlled and avoided. The prevention measures include-

  • Proper prenatal care
  • Avoid injuries and wear protection like athletic cups or support while playing sport.
  • Practice safe sex to minimize the chances of contracting STIs (sexually transmitted infections)
  • Avoid activities that can put pressure on the scrotum, such as horse riding.
  • Treat cough properly as it creates excess intraabdominal pressure and puts strain on the scrotal region