Hydroceles and inguinal hernias are common surgical problems that can occur at any age. A hernia is suspected when a child has a "bulge" in the groin, or in boys only, the scrotum. Inguinal hernias are much more common in boys. A hernia is the descent of abdominal contents into the groin or scrotum. In boys, the contents may include the intestines. In girls, the contents may include the intestines, fallopian tubes and ovaries. A hydrocele is a collection of fluid in the scrotum around the testicle.
A passage between the abdomen and the groin called the tunica vaginalis normally closes during the last trimester of pregnancy. When this passage does not close, a hernia or hydrocele can result. A communicating hydrocele or hernia always means that the passage is open and that surgery is needed to close the passage.
Small scrotal hydroceles are common at birth. This is due to the trauma of the delivery. This type is called a noncommunicating hydrocele and will resolve on its own.