Dropsy of the testicle in the newborn

Dropsy of the testicle in a newborn is a common pathology, which consists in stagnation of fluid in the scrotum. Due to its accumulation, the volume of the testicles of the child can be increased by several centimeters.

If we are talking about the physiological origin of dropsy, the deviation can pass on its own within a few months after birth. In other situations, surgical intervention is required.

Dropsy of the testicle in an infant is not a rare pathology. According to statistics, hydrocele (the second name for dropsy) is found in every tenth male newborn. This is a congenital disease, and they diagnose it already in the hospital. After this, the young mother will be given recommendations for further treatment and care for the child.

What is testicular dropsy?

Probably, many young mothers have heard of such a serious pathology as dropsy of the brain. Its essence is a violation of the outflow of cerebrospinal fluid – the fluid that washes the brain. A similar cause of dropsy of the testicle in the baby: the mechanism of development of the disease is similar.

Hydrocele is a scrotal edema that has formed in the region of the membranes of one or both testicles as a result of impaired outflow of serous fluid. The fluid that accumulates in the testicle can increase the size of the scrotum several times, so sooner or later the deviation in the baby is noticed not only by doctors, but also by parents.


There are only two reasons for dropsy of the testicles in newborns – physiological and pathological. In the first case, there is nothing to worry about. Congenital edema does not cause discomfort in the child. Consider the mechanism of its formation.

During fetal development, the genitals are laid in the fetus. The last stage of their development in the boy occurs at the moment when the testicles descend from the abdominal cavity through the vaginal process, similar to a funnel, into the cavity of the scrotum. Then this process should completely overgrow.

If this does not happen, fluid from the abdominal cavity will penetrate the scrotum, which leads to the formation of physiological dropsy of the testicle in a newborn boy.

The disease in this case goes away on its own in the first months of the baby’s life. Therefore, it is not necessary to worry about how to treat dropsy of the testicle in a newborn. You just have to be patient and wait a bit.

As for the pathological form of the disease, various negative factors can lead to it.

The causes of dropsy of the testicles in newborn boys of a pathological nature may be:

  • chickenpox and rubella in the expectant mother during pregnancy;
  • unhealthy lifestyle of the expectant mother;
  • birth trauma of the child;
  • acquired trauma in the baby immediately after childbirth (for example, a blow to the inguinal region, etc.).

Treatment of dropsy of the testicles of a pathological nature in newborn boys is usually performed surgically. A doctor can prescribe an operation before the baby is one and a half years old, since the pathological form of hydrocele gives the child unpleasant sensations and can cause complications.

There is an opinion that diapers cause edema of the newborn, but this is not so. Disposable diapers can not have any effect on the existing hydrocele and are not able to provoke its development. Therefore, abandoning diapers is optional. The main thing is to use them correctly and choose products according to the size of the baby. More on choosing diapers →


Symptoms of dropsy of the scrotum in a newborn are:

  • elastic and at the same time dense mass palpable in the scrotum;
  • the testicles are enlarged in volume from a few millimeters to several centimeters, depending on how much serous fluid has accumulated in them;
  • the skin in the scrotum area is mobile, as in all healthy children;
  • swelling can be determined in the region of one testicle, that is, in a newborn, dropsy of the right testicle or left testicle or both can be diagnosed (in this case, the swelling is localized throughout the scrotum);
  • pathology does not cause discomfort and pain in the child, does not interfere with urination.

Experts examine the newborn boy in the maternity hospital, and if there are any deviations in his health, this is reported to the parents. If dropsy of the testicle in the baby is detected, the baby is prescribed treatment.

The young mother herself is unlikely to be able to consider dropsy in a baby boy only if the pathology is not pronounced.

Dropsy treatment

When asked what to do if a newborn is diagnosed with dropsy of the testicle, experts answer: do not rush and wait until the baby is one and a half years old. Usually, at this point, hydrocele independently resolves in most boys.

The funnel begins to overgrow, and surgical help is not needed. But all this time the baby should be observed by the doctor, and if the disease begins to worsen, most likely, treatment will be prescribed for dropsy of the testicle in the newborn.

If the funnel turned out to be unclosed by the age of one and a half years or it was acquired later as a result of the influence of pathological factors, surgical intervention is necessary.

Surgical treatment of dropsy in a newborn boy is carried out with mandatory hospitalization in a hospital. The operation lasts no more than 1 hour, provided that during it there are no complications. 6 hours before the operation, the child should not eat and drink, as the surgical intervention is carried out strictly under general anesthesia.

If the surgical treatment of dropsy of the testicle in the baby was successful, after a few days he is discharged home.

In 5% of cases, postoperative complications cannot be avoided.

In this case, during or after surgery, the following pathological conditions may occur :

  • bleeding;
  • infection
  • injury to the seminal ducts, which will subsequently lead to male infertility;
  • atrophy of the testicle, resulting from a violation of blood circulation in the organ;
  • pain and discomfort in the groin area.

Hydrocele cannot be called a dangerous pathology, since in some cases the disease can go away on its own or can be easily treated if the parents consulted a doctor in a timely manner.

But in some cases, dropsy of the testicle in a newborn baby can be dangerous, especially if the deviation was noticed too late, when the following complications appeared:

  • the beginning of the formation of a hernia, against the background of which a hydrocele can lead to the death of the child;
  • male infertility in the future.

That is why parents are advised to pay attention to any changes in the behavior of the baby and share with the doctor any suspicions regarding his health. If the doctor appoints hospitalization to the surgical department, there is no need to be afraid of surgery – with dropsy of the testicles of newborns, it must be done if there are medical indications.


It is impossible to affect in any way the fusion of the vaginal process in the fetus and newborn. Therefore, no specific preventive measures regarding the cause and consequences of dropsy of the testicles in newborns do not exist. Only surgical treatment can help if the disease does not go away within a certain period.

Features of maternal pregnancy can have an effect on the development of hydrocele. Therefore, it is recommended that you carefully plan your pregnancy, treat the diseases in a timely manner. And boys from an early age must be accustomed to genital hygiene and to protect the scrotum from injuries. This will prevent the development of dropsy of the testis in the future.

Hydrocele is diagnosed in 10% of male children up to a year. According to statistics, in 80% of babies, the deviation passes on its own, without any intervention, during this time. Surgical treatment performed on medical grounds and on time does not affect the health and future fertility of men.

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