Medical Q&As

Hydrocoele - hasn't disappeared?

I have had a hydrocoele for about a year and six months. I was told that it should disappear on its own but its still there and it shows no signs of shrinking. It is apparently common in young children and middle-aged men but Iím 18 years old. It is quite uncomfortable. Should I keep waiting for it to go on its own or should I go back to my GP?

The term hydrocoele refers to a situation where the scrotum is filled with fluid and it tends to be a painless condition unless the accumulation of fluid is very large. They are very common in young boys and generally resolve without surgical intervention before the child reaches its second birthday. However, if the child is over two years old the hydrocoele is usually repaired. Given the fact that you are eighteen years of age it is unlikely that the fluid will disappear of its own accord and it would be best for you to visit your GP in order to have this matter dealt with. The fluid can be drained with a needle and syringe, having initially anaesthetised the skin of the scrotum with a local anaesthetic. However, the fluid will often re-accumulate soon after the procedure. For that reason it is more likely that surgery will be recommended to you in order to obliterate the hydrocoele permanently. This involves minimally invasive surgery that requires a small incision though the wall of the scrotum. The inner sac, within the scrotum, that contains the fluid is then turned inside out. This procedure can be compared to turning a bag inside out. This eliminates the sac that previously contained the fluid and this manoeuvre is achieved without any disturbance to the testicles or other parts of the reproductive system. The small incision is then stitched up. This procedure only involves a short hospital stay and in some cases can even be performed as a day case.