If you have a soft, painless swelling in your scrotum, you most likely have a hydrocele.
Each testicle is found inside a double-layered sheath or sac (not to be confused with the scrotum, which houses the sac and the testicle). Normally, there’s a small amount of fluid inside of each sheath, just enough to allow the testicle to move freely.
When an excess amount of fluid fills the sac around the testicle, this is called a hydrocele. If too much fluid is produced or too little absorbed, the excess amount may cause the area to swell.
It’s not known why excess fluid is produced, although injury to the testicles can lead to a hydrocele. This common disorder among middle-aged and elderly men is usually not a painful condition.
A hydrocele doesn’t pose a health risk.
DIAGNOSIS OF HYDROCELES
If you experience swelling, visit your doctor. Your doctor will gently palpate the testicles to determine the size and constancy of any lumps. He or she may then shine a light at the scrotum. If the swelling is a hydrocele, the light will shine through it. A solid mass could be a sign of other disorders.
An ultrasound can also be performed to confirm the diagnosis. Treatment is only required if the swelling causes you discomfort.
Excess fluid can be aspirated (drawn out with a needle and syringe) while you’re under local anesthesia in a doctor’s office. This method carries a risk of infection and the hydrocele may recur after the procedure.
Surgery may also be used to remove the hydrocele permanently by tightening or removing the testicle sheath.