The testes sit inside a sac in the scrotum, bathed in a small amount of body fluid to facilitate their free movement. A hydrocoele is an excessive collection of this fluid around the testis – causing an obvious swelling in the scrotum. Hydrocoeles are usually painless and present no risk to a man’s health.
What causes a hydrocoele?
Hydrocoeles most commonly occur in men aged over 40 years.
In most men the exact cause is unknown – this is referred to as idiopathic.
Occasionally there is a problem with one of the testes, which results in the formation of the excess fluid. Some of the conditions that can result in a secondary hydrocoele include:
How are hydrocoeles treated?
The majority of hydrocoeles require no treatment at all. They are painless and present no threat to a man’s health. You might consider treatment in the following circumstances:
It becomes uncomfortable in different positions or activities.
It becomes embarrassing or unslightly because of its size.
It becomes infected.
You would just prefer it gone.
If you do need treatment the options are:
This is a day procedure in which a small incision is made in the scrotum, the fluid drained and measures taken to minimise the chance of recurrence. Learn about Hydrocele Repair.
The fluid can be drained from a hydrocele. This can be done in the office or outpatient department without an anaesthetic. A needle is passed into the scrotum and the fluid drained. It is not usually a good option as the fluid re-accumulates in the vast majority of cases within quite a short time. It is a reasonable option is quick short term reversal of the swelling is required.