Symptoms of Hydrocele / Hernia
When a hydrocele is present, a nontender “mass” or “bulge” is seen in the groin or scrotum. A “communicating” hydrocele or hernia will change in size, becoming larger when a baby is crying, or if older, when the child is walking. The “bulge” will be smaller in size when the child is sleeping or quiet. A hydrocele or hernia is usually not painful; however, some infants do experience pain. You may notice your infant is more irritable, cries more often and pulls their legs up to their belly.
A hydrocele is not serious, but it can develop into a hernia. As long as the stomach contents can be pushed back into the abdomen, the child is not at risk. If, however, the stomach contents become stuck and cannot be pushed back into the abdomen, it is called an” incarcerated hernia.” If your child begins vomiting, has extreme tenderness of the area, a black and blue look to the groin or scrotum, fever or diarrhea, the hernia may have become “incarcerated.” This can result in a blockage of the bowel or damage to the contents in the hernia.
Treatment for Hydrocele / Hernia
For a “noncommunicating” hydrocele, your doctor will just watch your child for any changes. If a “communicating” hydrocele or hernia is present, your child will need surgery.
After Surgery Care
After surgery for a hernia / hydrocele, a clear, painted-on dressing called Dermabond is placed over the incision. Keep the area as clean and dry as possible, with frequent diaper changes. If stool gets on the incision, clean it as well as you can with a warm wet washcloth. The Dermabond gradually peels off on its own.
- No tub baths for five days after surgery
- No straddle toys or playing in sandboxes for four weeks
- No gym, sports or lifting more than the weight of a gallon of milk for four weeks. This could change based on your child’s age and at the doctor’s discretion.
- May return to school two to three days after surgery or when no longer pain medicine
Call Your Child's Doctor If:
Call your doctor right away if your child has any of the following:
- Increased irritability
- Seems to be in pain