Hydrocele is a condition where clear fluid accumulates in the scrotum. It is commonly noticed in male infants, though hydrocele may also develop in adult males due to a number of causes including trauma. Physical examination and ultrasound tests are necessary to confirm the diagnosis of hydrocele. In most cases, the condition corrects itself. If it does not, then you have the option of surgery or needle aspiration. Alternatively, you can try ayurveda or other traditional medicine to take care of your hydrocele.
One in ten male infants has hydrocele at the time of their birth. This is a condition where clear fluid accumulates in the scrotum. The testis is covered with a thin membrane called the tunica vaginalis. The testis is formed in the abdomen and then it descends to the scrotum. After the descent is complete, the gap between the abdominal cavity and the testis fuses shut and the excess fluid dries up. However, for babies who have hydrocele, the gap does not close properly and fluid continues to drain to the scrotal area. Even if it does close, the excess fluid is not absorbed. This condition is known as hydrocele.
Tests for hydrocele
In order to determine whether a baby has hydrocele, you need to watch the scrotum area. If it appears full of liquid, then the baby probably has hydrocele. The doctor performs a physical examination to determine whether fluid is present. In some cases, if light is shone on the scrotum, the clear fluid filled sac can be seen. If tissues are also seen, then an ultrasound may be necessary.
Conventional treatments of hydrocele
Before knowing about treatment options, you should know that in case of most infants, hydrocele is a self correcting phenomenon. It goes away by itself by the time the baby is one year old. You should of course consult your doctor as soon as you think you can detect hydrocele. In cases of simple hydrocele, where gap has closed but the fluid has not dried, you will mostly be advised to wait for a year before seeking other treatments.
If the problem persists or if hydrocele is caused in adult males and it does not disappear by itself within six months, the following treatment options can be explored:
- Surgery for hydrocele
If hydrocele persists or begins to cause discomfort, it may have to be removed. In that case, surgery is recommended. An incision is made in the scrotum or in the lower abdomen. The hydrocele is then removed. If you have inguinal hernia or communicating hydrocele or both, hydrocelectomy or surgical removal is the only remedy.
The operation is performed under general or spinal anaesthesia. It is not a major procedure. However, you will have to wear a dressing on the region. In some cases, you may be given a drainage tube for a few days. A scrotal support is recommended for a few days after surgery. You can apply ice pack to the scrotum to reduce swelling and discomfort.
The possible risks include injury to the scrotum, risk of infection and blood clots.
- Needle aspiration for hydrocele
If surgery cannot be performed for any reason, then the other viable option is needle aspiration. The fluid is drained out with the help of a needle. Then, a hardening drug may be injected to prevent the re accumulation of fluid.
Associated risks include pain in the scrotum and risk of infection.
Ayurvedic treatment for hydrocele
There are simple ayurvedic remedies available for most physical conditions and hydrocele is no exception. The advantage is that in most cases hydrocele corrects itself. So, ayurvedic medicines are required only to stimulate this self correction process.
Take equal quantities of dry powder of the following ingredients easily found in most ayurveda store:
- Black myrobylan (haritaki)
- Roasted long pepper
- Rock salt
The mixture should be wetted with little water and made into pea sized globules. One globule half an hour before food, thrice daily for 45 days is the recommended dosage for hydrocele to heal itself.