Groin and scrotal swellings are most commonly due to hernias or hydrocoeles, which are very common in babies especially when they are born premature. They are commoner in boys due to the fact that when the testis develops, it starts off as an intra-abdominal organ which then travels into the scrotum via a tube called the processus vaginalis. This tube usually closes off once the testis is in the right place, but if it remains patent, it could allow fluid (hydrocele) or even a loop of bowel (hernia) to protrude into the groin or scrotum.

Hernias can also, less commonly, happen in girls, when the ovary may prolapse and be felt as a pea-shaped lump in the groin.

Hernias in the first 6 months of life are dangerous as there is a higher risk for the bowel (or ovary) to become stuck. Hence urgent referral to a specialist is recommended. Henias in older children should also be repaired on a less urgent basis, as long as they are soft and pop in and out easily. Any hernia that appears stuck or is painful needs urgent referral.

Hydrocoeles tend to get better on their own by the time the child is 2 years of age. If they have not resolved by then, or are large and uncomfortable, day-case surgery is indicated.

  • Contact

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  • NHS Referrals

    NHS Referrals

    Please visit your GP and request a referral to Chelsea & Westminster Hospital Paediatric Urology

  • Private Referrals

    Miss MK Farrugia

    Please e-mail [email protected] or book an appointment in Chelsea & Westminster Hospital (0203-315-8599) or BUPA Cromwell Hospital (0207-460-5700)