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What are Hydroceles and Inguinal Hernias?

Hydrocele
Hydrocele
Image © 2003 Fairman Studios, LLC.

Inguinal Hernia
Inguinal Hernia

Hydroceles occur when fluid fills a sac in the scrotum of the penis (in the "inguinal canal"). About 10 in 100 male infants have a hydrocele at birth. Hydroceles can also develop with swelling or injury of the scrotum.

An inguinal hernia occurs if a small part of the intestine drops into the scrotum with the testes. The intestine can form a lump in the scrotum. There are 2 kinds of inguinal hernias. Indirect inguinal hernias occur in about 1 in 100 baby boys and the rate is higher in premature infants. Direct inguinal hernias are fairly common in older adult males.

Hydroceles and inguinal hernias can become a problem for males. Females do not get hydroceles, but they can get hernias. Ten times more males get hernias than females.