Hydrocele: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 3/22/2019

A hydrocele is a collection of clear fluid within the scrotum, the sac that also contains the testicles. It can occur on one or both sides of the scrotum.

Signs and symptoms associated with a hydrocele include a non-painful swelling found on one or both sides of the scrotum. There is typically no pain or testicular discomfort with a hydrocele. In some cases, the scrotal swelling increases during the day due to the effects of gravity. Crying, coughing, straining, and other movements that increase pressure within the abdomen can also increase the size of the hydrocele.

Causes of hydrocele

The cause of a hydrocele is an error in embryonic development that allows fluid to seep into the scrotal sac.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/22/2019

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