Humans are indeed a complex organism. There are many organs and systems making the human body perfect and enabling them to live. One of the many systems that plays a vital role in humans and society is the reproductive system. The human reproductive system does not only play a role in expanding humankind but also plays a role in hormone function. Some may even take medical supplements to help improve their health in general or specifically the reproductive system. In this article, we will be talking more about one disorder that may affect the reproductive system known as hydrocele and what happens if it is left untreated.
Hydrocele is an abnormal collection of fluid in the scrotum that is next to the testicle. It may occur at one side or both testicles. Hydrocele is common in newborns but may even happen when a person becomes an adult. In the newborn, hydrocele may happen as a result of the body unable to absorb excess fluid or failure of the processus vaginalis (thin membrane that extends through the inguinal canal around the hip and extends to the scrotum) to fully close. In adults, it may be caused by infection, testicular torsion, epididymitis, inflammation, injury or tumour in the testis. It is said that babies born prematurely are at risk for developing hydrocele.
Hydrocele often appeared as a swollen testis. A person with hydrocele may feel like a small balloon filled with fluid in the scrotum. It does not cause pain symptoms. The hydrocele may vary in size and in general is smooth upon touch. However, large hydroceles may actually lead to discomfort such as from walking, sitting or during sexual intercourse. A very large hydrocele may be seen in elderly as a result of the hydrocele getting larger over the years and not coming to a doctor when the swelling started as small ones.
In most cases, hydrocele does go away on its own before a boy reaches one year old. Unfortunately, hydrocele in adults most likely need to be treated by doctors as there can be many reasons leading to hydrocele and it is necessary to find the exact causes underlying it in order to treat it. Hydrocele in adults may be left alone if it does not cause symptoms but it is wise to get medical advice once it starts to become bothersome. Treatments depend on the patient’s age and how severe the symptoms are caused by the hydrocele. Treatment options include drainage and surgery. Since each case of hydrocele is different from one person to another, treatment options may greatly vary and be recommended by doctors.
While hydrocele is not considered as serious and atypically lead to fertility issues in future, at times a presence of hydrocele may actually indicate serious underlying issues and potential complication. Hence, when hydrocele is left untreated, it may lead to many complications such as rupture of the hydrocele, formation of haematocele (swelling due to a blood-filled cavity), risk of infections such as pyocele, shrinking (atrophy) of testis, infertility and sexual dysfunction. In rare cases, it may lead to Fournier’s gangrene, a painful condition that leads to death of the tissue near the genital region.
It can be concluded that hydrocele may seem harmless but when left untreated, it can lead to many complications. Complications can affect a boy or man’s life in short or long term. Thus, it is best to consult a doctor whenever a person sees something wrong with their genital area. This is because there are many conditions that could lead to swelling of the testicle and getting checked by healthcare professionals can help understand what is happening and what can be done.
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