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Hernia & Hydrocele - How To Handle Them In Kids?

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Rishavdeb Patra 89% (97ratings)
MBBS, MS - General Surgery, MCh - Paediatric Surgery
Pediatric Surgeon, Kolkata  •  26years experience
Hernia & Hydrocele  - How To Handle Them In Kids?

Hernia & Hydrocele - How to treat in a child?

Hydrocele and Hernia are two different conditions. Hydrocele happens when fluid fills in the scrotum and it swells up. However, Hernia happens when a child’s bowel push through the abdomen wall. This swelling can be into or above the scrotum.

Hydrocele and Hernia can happen on one side or both the side. The main cause for these conditions is an open passage between abdomen and scrotum which has not closed during birth. Children born with low weight or premature child are more prone to Hernia or Hydrocele.

Symptoms and Signs

Hydrocele or Hernia appears when you notice a small bulge or tender mass near scrotum or groin. Generally, these are painless mass. But in some cases, children experience pain and may cry or lift their legs up to the belly.

A communicating Hydrocele or Hernia increases when the child is walking or crying and appears smaller when sleeping. It increases gradually with time.

A hydrocele is not life-threatening. But when Hydrocele is not treated within the time frame, it may result in hernia. As long as contents can be pushed to the abdomen, Hernia is not serious. But if a child suffers from acute stomach ache, vomiting, black and blue area in the groin, and fever or diarrhea, then Hernia has become incarcerated hernia and should be operated immediately.


Hydrocele can be observed for 2 years under the supervision of a Pediatric Surgeon and does not require immediate surgery. However, for Hernia, Surgery is the only option. Any type of hernia should be corrected with surgery at the earliest, as it may get obstructed or strangulated.

Management of Hydrocele and Hernia in Child

Hydrocele persisting in children beyond 2 years age should be treated with surgery. However, Hernia should be treated with surgery as early as possible. The surgery for Hydrocele and Hernia is Herniotomy. A small incision is made at the groin area and the hernia sac is ligated at the neck, after dissecting the sac from the cord structures.

Common Instruction for Children

Some of the common instructions for children are:

  • No tub baths for at least a week

  • Avoid playing with sand and mud in gardens for at least a month

  • Avoid heavy toys and items near the kid, as he may try to lift things up

  • Avoid wearing tight pants and trousers as it may hurt the operated area

Take Away Message

It is always advisable to consult a Pediatric Surgeon before opting any treatment for Hernia or Hydrocele in a child.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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