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Inguinal Hernia and Hydrocele: Signs and Symptoms


What are the signs and symptoms of a hernia or hydrocele?

A non-communicating hydrocele usually causes scrotal swelling that gradually decreases in size. A communicating hydrocele, or inguinal hernia, usually causes intermittent swelling of the scrotum that may extend into the groin. This is usually most noticeable when the child is crying or having a bowel movement, or at the end of the day.

A hydrocele does not typically cause any pain or problems. These conditions are usually identified shortly after birth. However, a communicating hydrocele, or inguinal hernia, may present later in life following periods of increased straining. Signs or symptoms of a communicating hydrocele, or inguinal hernia, should prompt further evaluation by a pediatric urologist.

An incarcerated inguinal hernia usually presents with a firm mass within the groin that may extend into the scrotum, it occurs when bowel gets stuck in the hernia sac. It is usually tender to the touch, and may be associated with nausea and vomiting or a change in bowel habits. This is an emergency, and should be addressed immediately.