Hydrocele is a condition when clear fluid accumulates in the scrotal area. It is quite common and is observed in one out of ten male infants. In some cases, it may also occur among the adult males. Hydrocele is a self correcting condition and you should wait at least a year for the infants and six months for adult males for the hydrocele to disappear. If it does not do so, you may have to opt for surgery. There are no ways to prevent congenital hydrocele in male babies. However, protective measures from injuries can help to prevent hydrocele in adult males.
When the foetus forms in the womb, the testicles are formed in the abdominal region. The whole thing then descends to the scrotum, dragging a part of the peritoneum with it. This part is known as processus vaginalis. In normal cases, after the descent is complete, the processus vaginalis fuses shut and a thin membrane called tunica vaginalis remains surrounding each testis. Some fluid may accumulate here, but it dries up before birth. In some cases, the processus vaginalis does not close properly and fluid accumulates within the tunica vaginalis. This condition is known as hydrocele.
Hydrocele prevention tips
The exact cause why the processus vaginalis fails to fuse shut properly is not known. Hence there are no ways to prevent hydrocele from occurring in infant male babies.
One in every ten male babies is born with hydrocele and there is simply no way to prevent this. If you notice hydrocele in your child, you should consult a doctor and keep him under close observation. In most cases, hydrocele is a painless condition. It is also self correcting. So, the best course of action for you would be to keep a close watch on the child for one year. The hydrocele will disappear in most cases within that time.
If the child has communicating hydrocele, i.e. the fluid continues to drain from abdomen to the scrotum, then surgery may be necessary. Again, there is nothing you can do to prevent this.
However, hydrocele in adult male is a different matter. This is probably caused by injury to the scrotum, trauma or other type of situation like wearing too tight underwear or some physical strain. In such cases, prevention is possible.
The best way to prevent hydrocele is to protect the scrotum region from injury or trauma.
If you already have developed hydrocele or you have had surgery or other procedure to deal with it, you should avoid those activities that put pressure on the scrotum. Examples include horseback riding and other similar outdoor activities. This is because hydrocele can come back even after treatment. You should be especially careful if you have surgery or aspiration to treat hydrocele. The risk of infection is always there. So, you should go to a qualified doctor and make sure that the procedure is done in clean and hygienic surroundings so that you do not get any infection from the needle. In order to prevent hydrocele from coming back a second time after you had operation or aspiration, certain precautions are necessary. Avoid straining the groin area. You should stop strenuous physical activities for a few days.
Ask the advice of your doctor about any scrotal support system that you may use. Such support reduces strain on the scrotum and also protects it from injury. If you are having repeated problem with hydrocele, you can opt for ligation of the tunica vaginalis. This prevents hydrocele from coming back. In some cases, hydrocele may develop as a secondary infection to some sexually transmitted infection. So, be selective in your sexual activity and use protection to reduce the chances of infection.
In rare cases, hydrocele develops as a side effect of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. So, if you have a family history of this disease, you need to keep a watch for hydrocele and take some preventive measures.