TOP

That mass could be a hydrocele

By Vision Reporter

Added 2nd July 2013 05:34 PM

At only three years of age, Sidisi Mudodi wears oversize shorts. You may not know why, until he undresses. His scrotum is the size of a ball.

2013 7largeimg202 jul 2013 143452637 703x422

At only three years of age, Sidisi Mudodi wears oversize shorts. You may not know why, until he undresses. His scrotum is the size of a ball.

By Moses Nampala

 
At only three years of age, Sidisi Mudodi wears oversize shorts. You may not know why, until he undresses. His scrotum is the size of a ball.
 
“The scrotum was of normal size at birth, but when he turned five months old, it started swelling,” narrates Christine Babirye, his mother.
 
She says the ailment has taken a toll on Mudodi’s social life.
“It makes him walk in a careful and lazy way,” says Babirye, a single mother.
What ailment is it?
 
Dr. Jaffer Balyejusa, a consultant surgeon at Mbale Referral Hospital, says Mudodi suffers from hydrocele.
Hydrocele is an abnormal collection of fluids around the scrotum, arising from a malfunction from, among others, the body cavity.
 
According to Balyejusa, the ailment is increasingly becoming prevalent in the north-eastern region, particularly Teso.
“We perform an average of two surgeries per week at Mbale Referral Hospital,” explains Balyejusa.
 
Statistics at the hospital indicate that cases of hydrocele in children per month constitute 40%.
The most common types of hydrocele in this part of the country are mainly congenital and acquired.
 
“Congenital malfunctions present when a baby is still in the womb, while acquired hydrocele presents in adulthood,” Balyejusa says.
 
Dr. Allen Nandawula, a urologist at Mulago Hospital, says acquired hydrocele is usually a result of a malformation on the alignment of the skin around the scrotum.
 
How a hydrocele forms
According to Balyejusa, a layer of membrane develops around the scrotum, forming a sack-like membrane. 
 
“Fluid from the body cavity then begins to accumulate in the sack-like membrane,” explains Balyejusa. This leads to the formation of a hydrocele.
 
Causes
The ailment could also be a result of infections contracted through sexual intercourse. 
 
While it is also true that filarial worms, transmitted by mosquitoes, could cause a person to develop a hydrocele, it could also be a secondary infection of a tumour, although such cases are rare.
Studies indicate that pre-mature and underweight children at birth are  vulnerable to the ailment.
 
Symptoms
Nandawula says symptoms include a painless swollen scrotum.
The easiest way of detecting the ailment is by flashing a bright light on one side of the swelling.
 
“While a hydrocele will gleam, a sign indicating that the mass is transparent, a tumour is usually opaque,” explains Nandawula.
 
The mass around the groin of the victim causes discomfort, particularly when it grows bigger.
To avoid unnecessary attraction of attention from the public, victims (adults) prefer wearing tunics.
Balyejusa points out that a hydrocele rarely affects the reproductive system.
 
“The victim can perform conjugal duties normally and have children,” he explains.
 
Treatment
There are two methods of treating hydroceles; major surgery and tapping.
Under the tapping method, the mass is drained of the fluid, without necessarily carrying out an incision on the scrotum.
 
The only misgiving with this method is that the hydrocele is likely to re-occur. The method is usually carried out on patients who detest major surgery.
 
Physicians also note that besides the fear of re-occurance, when tapping is done repeatedly, the victim is likely to contract severe infections.
 
On the other hand, surgery, referred to as hydrocelectomy, entails a surgery on the scrotum mass.
“The incision will permit the surgeon to dismantle and remove the sack-like membrane where the fluid accumulates,” explains Balyejusa.
 
Unfortunately, there is still no method to prevent a hydrocele from developing.

That mass could be a hydrocele

Related Articles

More From The Author

Related articles