Baby Hydrocele...A big problem for little boys

Hydrocele - ever heard of it? Yeah, me neither. Well, that is until my son's 1 month doctor's appointment when the pediatrician looked at his 'jewels' - for lack of a better term - and then said matter of factly 'you know his testicles are about 2-3 times larger than most boys'.'

As I sat there with the words ringing in my ears and wondering why in the world my husband had never mentioned it - the doctor continued to press, poke and prod to the point that I quickly snapped out of my trance enough to wonder if all this poking would prevent me from becoming a grandmother someday. Before he could assure me that no it wouldn't impact reproduction I had already formed a million questions.

First off - what the hell is a hydrocele? I mean his junk looked exactly the same that day as it did a month earlier when I delivered. Apparently, that is the precise problem.  It - or in my son's case - they were supposed to shrink. You see, he doesn't just have one hydrocele he has a bi-lateral non-communicating hydrocele which basically means both his testicals are very swollen with fluid.

(Oh I hope he never reads this or he may never get a girlfriend - or at least not one that he wouldn't be embarrassed enough to bring home to meet me.)

Anyway - like I said in most baby boys the fluid is there during delivery and then quickly ascends back into the abdomen and is absorbed.  The way it was explained to me is the fluid comes down with the testes when they descend late in development. But it is then is absorbed several days after birth.  I guess this is why no one mentioned it during my son's first appointment - when he was about 4 days old. For some reason, my son's fluid isn't being permanently absorbed - actually we believe it is going back up into the abdominal area, but then it's traveling back down to the testicles.

In some cases this is a sign of a hernia- however there is typically a bulging near the right waist/hip area with a hernia and my son has never had that. A hernia would most likely require surgery. So since my son doesn't appear to have a hernia that led to my second question - What do we do about this hydrocele?

Nothing. That was the answer the doctor gave me at the one month check up. We wait. So we waited until the second month appointment when I got the same answer and was assured that it would likely go away on its own by 3 months. At 3 months poor Blake's junk was just as swollen.

At this point I started to notice that some days it appeared the fluid was gone or at least less. So the doctor told me to take a picture if I noticed any changes. He said I should email him the pictures so he could monitor Blake without me having to bring him into the office - not to mention the size and status of his junk changed so quickly it likely wouldn't be the same by the time I got to the pediatrician.  So imagine me - trying to change his diaper, take a picture, and then figure out how I'm going to email these pictures to the doctor without it appearing to be anything but medically necessary.  Oy..the things you never thought you'd do until you become a mother.

So now, here we are five months after birth and at this last appointment the doctor said we should keep on waiting. He said if the baby hydroceles aren't not gone by the time he's a year - and it's very likely they will be - we should see a surgeon and/or a urologist. But until then we just keep waiting, watching, and hoping to keep the pee in the diaper (Yes, I've finally figured out that he can pee up his back and around the side b/c his little pee-pee can barely lie flat).


MICHELE said...

whoa. You make me laugh only b/c I would have been the same way. I know nothing about boys and am constantly asking my husband if MW's "jewels" are normal. HA!
My sister and I have a running joke about the medical community. Their favorite line is "don't worry they'll grow out of it." We are getting t-shirts. HA! And guess what in our case he isn't growing out of it and now needs surgery. I do hope your son grows out of it though.

Joanna said...

Hmmmm very interesting. I learned a lot onthis post. Well at least he's not in any pain right? The thing I find interesting is the sentence about peeing up the back and sides. I wrote a whole post about that phenomenon in the boys' first month but now I realize in reading ur post that it stopped. Maybe they were still swollen and too so it couldn't lay flat but now it can. Hope this problem corrects itself.

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