This is a painless collection of clear fluid surrounding the testis. It is common in newborn males. It usually takes 6 - 12 months to clear completely. It is harmless but can be checked during regular visits to the doctor.
The cause of hydrocoele in children is different from adults. The testicles initially develop in the abdomen. In most boys, they move down to the scrotum before birth. As they do this, some of the lining of the abdomen (the peritoneum) comes down as a tube.
This connection between the abdomen and the scrotum is usually closed at birth. But in some boys, it remains open. Fluid produced in the abdomen then moves freely into the scrotum and back (which accounts for changes noted in size).
An inguinal hernia occurs when a loop of intestine enters the scrotum through the inguinal ring. It is usually painless unless the intestine gets stuck. It usually can be pushed back into the abdomen.
Yes. In girls the swelling is usually in the labia (vagina lips) or the groin.
It is usually not serious. However, complications arise if the intestine gets stuck in the connection and becomes blocked.
When this happens, the child may cry persistently, have vomiting and his abdomen may become bloated. The hernia bulge may become larger, firmer or red and tender to touch. If this happens, he needs to be brought immediately to the Accident & Emergency Department.
The operation is called a herniotomy. This involves a small incision in the groin so that the intact connection is found and tied off.
Generally for hydrocoeles in babies, surgery is unnecessary as the majority will close by the age of 1 year. Beyond which, the chance of it closing spontaneously is less likely and surgery is recommended.
For hernias, surgery should not be delayed as there is a risk of complications due to the intestine getting stuck.
There is no need to remove stitches as absorbable sutures will be used to close the wound. There will be a clear adhesive wound dressing applied. This dressing can be removed after 1 week (or you can wait till the clinic appointment whereby your doctor will remove it for you).
Your child will be given medical leave for 1 week. But usually, the child can go back to school earlier if he can walk without discomfort.
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