What is hypospadias?
Hypospadias is a malformation that affects the opening of the urethra and the foreskin
on a male's penis. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to
the outside of the body. Hypospadias is a disorder in which the male urethral opening
is not located at the tip of the penis. The urethral opening can be located anywhere
along the urethra. Most commonly with hypospadias, the opening is located along the
underside of the penis, near the tip.
What causes hypospadias?
Hypospadias is a congenital (present at birth) anomaly (abnormality). This means that
the malformation happens during fetal development. As the fetus develops, the tissue
covering the underside of the penis that forms part of the urethra doesn't completely
close. Also during fetal development, the foreskin does not develop completely. This
typically leaves extra foreskin on the top side of the penis and no foreskin on the
underside of the penis.
Who is affected by hypospadias?
According to pediatric urologists:
Hypospadias is a disorder that primarily affects male newborns.
Newborns of older mothers are at an increased risk.
Newborns of fathers with conditions affecting the genitourinary system are more likely
to have hypospadias.
Prematurity, low birth weight, and twin gestation are also considered risk factors
What are the symptoms of hypospadias?
The following are the most common symptoms of hypospadias. However, each baby may
experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
Abnormal appearance of foreskin and penis on exam
Abnormal direction of urine stream
The end of the penis may be curved downward
The symptoms of a hypospadias may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always see
your baby's healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
How is hypospadias diagnosed?
A healthcare professional usually diagnoses hypospadias at birth. The malformation
can be detected by physical exam.
What is the treatment for hypospadias?
Your baby's healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for your baby based
How old your baby is
His overall health and past health
How sick he is
How well your baby can handle specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
How long the condition is expected to last
Your opinion or preference
Hypospadias can be repaired with surgery. Usually, the surgical repair is done when
your baby is between 6 and 24 months. This is when penile growth is minimal. At birth,
your male child will not be able to undergo circumcision, as the extra foreskin may
be needed for the surgical repair. The surgical repair can usually be done on an outpatient
basis (and may require multiple surgeries depending on the severity).
If a hypospadias deformity is not repaired, the following complications may happen
as your child grows and matures:
The urine stream may be abnormal. The stream may point in the direction of the opening,
or it may spread out and spray in multiple directions.
The penis may curve as your baby grows. This causes sexual dysfunction later in life.
If the urethral opening is closer to the scrotum or perineum, your baby may have problems
with fertility later in life.
Please talk with your baby's healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you
may have regarding this condition.