While your child was developing in the womb, the testicles were developing inside the abdomen. Towards the end of pregnancy, each testicle creates a passage (process vaginalis) as it travels into the scrotum.
If this passage fails to close and is quite wide, the abdominal lining and sometimes bowel can bulge through it, causing a lump to form in the groin area. This is called an inguinal hernia.
If the passage is quite narrow, only fluid from the abdomen can flow through it to the scrotum, causing a fluid-filled sac to develop. This is called a hydrocele.
More information for parents and visitors on inguinal hernias and hydroceles