Hydroceles are a condition wherein the scrotum swells due to the accumulation of fluid. This fluid collects within the thin sheath that surrounds each testicle. They are common in newborn infants and generally resolve before the age of one, without the need for any treatment. In men and older boys, the condition can develop in cases of inflammation or injury.
Inguinal hernias are a condition where a part of the intestines or the membrane that lines the abdominal cavity protrudes through a weakened point of the abdomen. That can occur along the inguinal canal, where the spermatic cord is. The condition will not go away without treatment and can cause life-threatening complications.
An inguinal hernia can be the underlying cause of hydroceles, and the swelling apparent from hydroceles is often a key indicator that an inguinal hernia is present. Untreated, an inguinal hernia can lead to bowel obstructions and intestinal strangulation, where blood flow to the intestine is cut off.