The human body is indeed a marvel as there are many organs and systems allowing the human to live and breed. One of the many complex systems in the body is the reproductive system. The reproductive system not only plays a role in continuing mankind but also plays a role in the hormone function of an individual life. The reproductive system is often taken for granted unless a person faces complications or fertility issues. The best way to avoid such ruckus is to get regular health screening. In this article, we will be learning about one of the diseases that affect the normal reproductive system known as hydrocele.
Hydrocele is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the scrotum which is next to the testicle. Hydrocele may affect one or both sides of the testicles. It is common in the newborn but it is still possible for an adult to get it. Hydrocele in the newborn is a result of the body unable to absorb the excess fluid or due to the failure of the processus vaginalis (thin membrane that extends through the inguinal canal around the hip and extends to the scrotum) to properly close. Hydrocele in adults can be caused by many reasons such as infection, testicular torsion, infection of testicle, injury or tumour in the testis. Risk for developing hydrocele is high in babies born prematurely.
Hydrocele often appeared as a swollen testis. Hydrocele often makes a person feel their scrotum as in a balloon filled with fluid. Hydrocele supposedly not causing any pain. The size of hydrocele may vary in size and is smooth when it is touched. However, large hydroceles often lead to discomfort especially when a person walks, sits or has sexual intercourse. Large hydrocele is usually found in the elderly as the hydrocele gets larger throughout the years and is a result of not meeting a doctor when the swelling started off as a small hydrocele.
To diagnose hydrocele may not be easy as symptoms of hydrocele itself such as swelling testis can resemble many other conditions affecting the testis. Hence, it is best to see a doctor when swelling tests occur even if it is small. Doctors will usually ask questions first to find the possible causes leading to hydrocele. Then, a physical exam by a doctor helps to determine the scrotum condition and the extent of swelling. They might also use a transillumination test to get a better look of the scrotum. Additional tests such as ultrasounds may be used by doctors to see inside of the scrotum. In rare cases, exploratory surgery might be the only way to determine causes leading to hydrocele.
In most cases of hydrocele, it does go away on its own before a boy reaches his first birthday. Unfortunately, hydroceles in adults are more likely to need to be treated by doctors since this kind of hydrocele can be caused by many reasons. For cases of hydrocele in adults that do not exhibit any symptoms, it may be left untreated but in contrast, should the hydrocele lead a person to feel worried or discomfort, it is best to get medical advice. Treatment depends on the patient’s age and the severity of the hydrocele itself.
The best treatment is a hydrocelectomy. It is a surgery to remove hydrocele by making a small incision in the scrotum to drain the fluid from the hydrocele and remove the sac causing the filled fluid in the scrotum. It is also the gold standard for treatment of hydrocele. Gold standard treatment means a treatment that has been evaluated thoroughly through scientific evidence and the best available treatment for a disease. This supports the fact that hydrocelectomy is the best treatment for hydrocele. Furthermore, the success rate for this treatment is around 84% and major complications are scarce.
Apart from hydrocelectomy, there is another way of treating hydrocele. Scrotal aspiration and sclerotherapy are another option for treating hydrocele. In this procedure, the fluid of the hydrocele is drained by using a needle and syringe. Then, chemicals will be injected into the hydrocele to stop hydrocele from re-accumulating by making a scar to the inner lining of the hydrocele sac. The complication rate for this procedure is only 8%. It is worth noting that since both of these procedures of hydrocelectomy and sclerotherapy involves surgery which means there is always a chance for risk and complications such as pain and chances of hydrocele to re-emerge. Do have a thorough discussion with the healthcare provider on what treatment is the best for you since not all cases can be treated equally using one kind treatment.
In essence, hydrocele is the accumulation of fluid inside the scrotum. Hydrocele in infants is common since it is due to the baby’s body process itself but hydrocele in adults can be caused by many reasons. Since there are many reasons leading to hydrocele in adults, it is best to get medical advice and not to wait until the hydrocele gets too large. There is no room for shame in treating this disease because the only shame you will be getting is the pain and the very large hydrocele that you could actually treat at an early stage. Hydrocele in adults and infants can goes away on its own without treatment but it is important to meet a doctor when the hydrocele grows bigger.