Children's Hospital Colorado

Inguinal Hernia and Hydrocele

What is a hernia or hydrocele?

A hernia or a hydrocele is typically characterized by intermittent swelling of the scrotum that may extend into the groin. Learn how our doctors repair a hernia.

If the opening is small, only fluid can pass through, and this is called a hydrocele. However, if the opening is large enough, a part of the intestine can move into the hernia sac and is called a hernia.

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What causes a hernia or hydrocele?

During normal pre-birth development, the testis descends though the groin into the scrotum, bringing with it part of the lining of the abdomen. This tube-like communication between the abdomen and the scrotum usually closes off by the time a child is born. If the communication does not close off, fluid is free to move back and forth from the abdomen into the scrotum – this is called a communicating hydrocele or an inguinal hernia.

Who gets hernias or hydroceles?

Approximately 1% to 3% of children are diagnosed with a communicating hydrocele or an inguinal hernia, with a higher incidence in premature and low birth weight infants.

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Lauren Hill, MSN

Lauren Hill, MSN

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

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Brian Caldwell, MD

Brian Caldwell, MD

Urology - Pediatric, Urology

Kenneth Liechty, MD

Kenneth Liechty, MD

Surgery - Pediatric, Surgery

Paige Kack, CPNP

Paige Kack, CPNP

Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Patient ratings and reviews are not available Why?