What is a hydrocele?
A hydrocele is a collection of fluid in a sac in your scrotum next to a testicle (testis). It usually occurs on one side but sometimes a hydrocele forms over both testicles (testes).
The normal testis is surrounded by a smooth protective tissue sac. You cannot normally feel this. It makes a small amount of ‘lubricating’ fluid to allow the testis to move freely. Excess fluid normally drains away into the veins in your scrotum. If the balance is altered between the amount of fluid that is made and the amount that is drained, some fluid accumulates as a hydrocele.
What causes hydroceles?
The cause is not known in most cases.
Surgery may be recommended if your hydrocele is large or uncomfortable. The operation for a hydrocele involves making a very small cut in the scrotum or lower tummy (abdominal) wall. The fluid is then drained from around the testicle (testis). The passage between the abdomen and the scrotum will also be sealed off so the fluid cannot re-form in the future. This is a minor operation and may be performed as a day care case. A hydrocele may return after surgery but this is very uncommon.