Hernias and hydroceles are common medical conditions in newborns, infants and children.
A hernia happens when an organ or tissue pushes through a weak spot or opening in a muscle wall into a part of the body where it does not belong. Hernias look like a bulge on the body. Hernias generally do not go away by themselves and often require surgery.
A hydrocele is a fluid-filled sac around a testicle that causes swelling in the scrotum. During development, the testicles develop in the abdomen and then travel down a tube into the scrotum, alongside a thin-walled sac. This sac normally closes itself, and the body absorbs any fluid. Sometimes, the fluid remains. This is called a non-communicating hydrocele. In some cases, the sac remains open, allowing fluid to flow in and out. This is called a communicating hydrocele. Hydroceles often go away within the first two years of life and usually need no medical treatment. Hydroceles rarely cause any symptoms except for swelling, and this swelling may change in amount and frequency.
The most common hernias in children are:
Symptoms of hernias and hydroceles can range from no pain or mild pain to more severe affects. Symptoms include:
Pediatricians, pediatric surgeons and pediatric urologists at Riley at IU Health perform the following exams and tests to diagnose a hernia or hydrocele:
Treatment options include:
In cases where the hernia or hydrocele does not resolve on its own, surgical treatments provide excellent outcomes.
Visit the links below to find support groups and services and learn more about hernias and hydroceles.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
This website from the American Pediatric Surgical Association provides parent-friendly information about inguinal hernias and hydroceles, including information about surgical treatment.
Learn more about umbilical hernia repair on this U.S. National Library of Medicine website.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
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