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Illustration for article titled The Hidden Menace That Is The Scrotal Hydrocele

I went to the doctor a while back because I thought I had a hernia. It turned out I had something far less serious, and yet somehow far more horrifying.


If you've had an inguinal hernia before (and I have), you know it occurs when your digestive lining tears and a portion of your intestines droops out, sometimes into your nutsack. This is decidedly unpleasant. It's what doctors are looking for when they have you pull your pants down during a physical and stick their finger right up your balls and into the general area I like to refer to as THE SOCKET. I had this in 1994, and needed surgery to correct it. They shaved half my pubes before the operation. Very erotic.

If you have a hernia, there's usually a bulge in your scrotum that will expand upon coughing. The other day, I jammed my hand down my pants (as per usual) and felt a bulge. I coughed. It expanded. Shit. Another hernia. THIS IS WHAT I GET FOR OCCASIONALLY EXERTING MYSELF.


So I went to the doctor, and it turned out I didn't have a hernia at all. I had what is called a hydrocele, a generally harmless condition. I did not need surgery, which made me happy, until I was told that hydroceles are essentially varicose veins inside your nutsack. I'll let Google Health explain it:

A hydrocele is a fluid-filled sack along the spermatic cord within the scrotum. The main symptom is a painless, swollen testicle , which feels like a water balloon. A hydrocele may occur on one or both sides. Hydroceles are usually not dangerous, and they are usually only treated when they cause discomfort or embarrassment, or if they are large enough to threaten the testicle's blood supply.

One option is to remove the fluid in the scrotum with a needle, a process called aspiration. However, surgery is generally preferred. Aspiration may be the best alternative for people who have certain surgical risks.

Sclerosing (thickening or hardening) medications may be injected after aspiration to close off the opening. This helps prevent the future build up of fluid.

Hydroceles can be easily demonstrated by shining a flashlight (transillumination) through the enlarged portion of the scrotum. If the scrotum is full of clear fluid, as in a hydrocele, the scrotum will light up.


I held a flashlight up to my sack just now (why I haven't done that before is beyond me. I love shining flashlights through my hands and shit), and indeed, my scrotum LIT UP. Which is a handy parlor trick. Also, the extra bulging makes my nuts feel bigger, more substantial. I AM SO BALLSY, I CANNOT BE CONTAINED.

It still doesn't make up for the fact that I feel like there is a goddamn serpent running through my balls. Or the fact that I have a clear sign of aging in the worst place you'd want a clear sign of aging to reside. So I warn all you middle aged fellows out there to take heed. Maybe your balls are fine and dandy right now, but the hydrocele could come and get you. BEWARE THE INFLATED SCROAT.

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