Urologic Conditions in Infants and Children: Inguinal Hernia, Hydrocele, and Cryptorchidism

FP Essent. 2020 Jan:488:16-20.


In children, inguinal hernias, hydroceles, and cryptorchidism typically are associated with a patent processus vaginalis. Inguinal hernias occur in 3.5%-5% of full-term newborns and 9%-11% of premature newborns. Inguinal hernias are characterized by an intermittent mass in the groin that may be reducible or incarcerated. Incarcerated hernias usually are painful, can cause vomiting, and require prompt intervention. The definitive treatment is surgery, and urgency depends on symptoms and ability to reduce the hernia. Hydrocele is an accumulation of serous fluid in the tunica vaginalis around the testicle that presents as a painless, fluctuant mass. Most hydroceles resolve spontaneously by age 1 year. Cryptorchidism occurs when one or both testes do not migrate to the scrotum. The diagnosis is made via history and physical examination. Spontaneous descent of the testis may occur before age 6 months but referral to a surgical subspecialist is indicated if descent does not occur.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Cryptorchidism*
  • Hernia, Inguinal*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Testicular Hydrocele*