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If you feel a scrotal mass, it could be a hydrocele.


What is a hydrocele?

Several layers of tissue surround male testicles that help lubricate the testicles within the scrotum. Occasionally, excess fluid will develop between these layers which results in fluid collection around the testicle. This fluid accumulation is known as a hydrocele. Men may experience discomfort or pain if the hydrocele becomes large or infected. However, most are asymptomatic (do not cause any symptoms). Hydroceles may develop after a testicular infection, due to inflammation or after sustaining an injury. This urologic condition is fairly common in newborn males when their testicles descend after birth. On the other hand, a low percentage of adult men will develop this condition.

Evaluation and Treatment

Scrotal swelling or testicular enlargement should be evaluated by a urologist. The physician will also want to ensure that no other medical conditions are present. When visiting the urologist, a personal and family history will be taken. A physical examination will also be performed to screen for predisposing conditions. Additionally, the doctor may order a blood test and/or a urinalysis to aid in the diagnosis.

If a hydrocele is suspected, but the diagnosis is uncertain, a scrotal ultrasound is usually obtained. If the swelling is large, infected, and/or causing pain, treatment is indicated. Unfortuately, in-office needle drainage is not effective in treating this condition. Oftentimes, the urologist will recommend a hydrocelectomy which is an outpatient surgical procedure performed to permanently remove the hydrocele.

Whenever a man finds a lump in the scrotal region, they should contact a urologist to schedule an appointment. It is important to make a diagnosis as soon as possible to treat the condition, and to rule out any serious problems. While a hydrocele is not life-threatening, other testicular conditions, such as testicular cancer, may be.

If you have swelling around a testicle, or have found an abnormal lump, contact Urology Austin to schedule an appointment.