The key difference between hydrocele and varicocele is that hydrocele is a type of testicular lump and swelling caused due to fluid around the testicles, while varicocele is a testicular lump and swelling caused due to dilated or enlarged veins within the testicles.
Lumps and swellings in the testicles can have different causes and often are not caused by anything serious. However, it is always necessary to do a check-up by a doctor. Most of them are caused by something harmless like fluid build-up and swollen veins in the testicles. But sometimes, they can be a sign of serious cases such as testicular cancer.
What is Hydrocele?
Hydrocele is a type of testicular lump and swelling caused due to fluid around the testicles. It is a type of swelling that occurs in the scrotum due to fluid collected in the thin sheath surrounding the testicle. Hydrocele is normally common in newborns and disappears without treatment by age 1. However, older boys and adults can develop this medical condition due to inflammation or injury within the scrotum. Hydrocele is not usually painful or harmful. The typical symptoms may include painless swelling of one or both testicles, experiencing discomfort from the heaviness of a swollen scrotum, and worsening swelling in the morning than in the evening.
There are two types of hydroceles: communicating and non-communicating. Communicating hydrocele has contact with fluids of the abdominal cavity. This is due to the failure of the processus vaginalis (thin membrane extends through the inguinal canal and extends to the scrotum). If processus vaginalis remains open, there is a potential for both a hernia and hydrocele to develop. On the other hand, in non-communicating hydrocele, the inguinal canal closes, but there is still extra fluid around the testicle in the scrotum. This condition can be diagnosed through physical examination, blood and urine tests, and imaging tests such as ultrasounds. Furthermore, this condition is treated through surgery like hydrocelectomy if it does not disappear. After surgery, drainage of fluid can be performed.
What is Varicocele?
Varicocele is a testicular lump and swelling that is due to dilated or enlarged veins within the testicles. It occurs due to the enlargement of the veins within the loose bag of skin (scrotum) that holds the testicles. This condition normally occurs when blood pools in the veins rather than circulating efficiently out of the scrotum. Varicocele may cause poor development of a testicle or low sperm production, which ultimately leads to infertility.
The symptoms of this condition may include pain, a mass in the scrotum, differently sized testicles, and infertility. Moreover, this condition can be diagnosed through visual examination, by touch, and ultrasound. Furthermore, treatment options for this condition may include painkillers (acetaminophen or ibuprofen), nonsurgical treatment embolization (blocking the veins), and surgery.
What are the Similarities Between Hydrocele and Varicocele?
- Hydrocele and varicocele are two different types of testicular lumps and swellings.
- Only men are affected.
- Both occur in the scrotum or testicles.
- They are treatable through specific surgeries.
What is the Difference Between Hydrocele and Varicocele?
Hydrocele is a type of testicular lump and swelling that is due to fluid around the testicles, while varicocele is a testicular lump and swelling that is due to dilated or enlarged veins within the testicles. Thus, this is the key difference between hydrocele and varicocele. Furthermore, hydrocele is usually painless and harmless, while varicocele is painful and harmful.
The below infographic presents the differences between hydrocele and varicocele in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Hydrocele vs Varicocele
Hydrocele and varicocele are two different types of testicular lumps and swellings. Both conditions occur in the scrotum of testicles. Hydrocele happens due to fluid around the testicles, while varicocele happens due to dilated or enlarged veins within the testicles. So, this is the key difference between hydrocele and varicocele.