Hydroceles and inguinal hernias are common surgical problems that can occur at any age.

One sign of a hernia is when a child has a "bulge" in the groin, or in boys, the scrotum. “Inguinal hernias” are much more common in boys. A hernia is when the stomach contents can be felt in 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 normally closes before the baby is born. When this passage does not close, a hernia or hydrocele can result.

A “communicating” hydrocele or hernia means that the passage is always 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.