Hypospadias is a common and relatively minor birth defect. It means that the opening of the urethra is on the underside of your childâ€™s penis instead of at the tip of the penis. The urethra is the tube that drains urine from the bladder. When your child has hypospadias, his urethra may be:
On the head of the penis but closer to the edge, rather than in the center
In the middle of the shaft of the penis, on the underside
Near the scrotum (the sac of loose skin below the penis)
What is the cause?
The exact cause is not known. Itâ€™s more common in babies with a family history of hypospadias and may be related to a problem with hormones as a baby develops in the uterus.
What are the symptoms?
A child with hypospadias has an abnormal spray of urine, which means that the urine comes out from some place other than the tip of the penis. Other signs of this problem may include:
A foreskin that looks like a hood on the end of the penis
A downward curve of the penis
How is it diagnosed?
Your childâ€™s healthcare provider will ask about your childâ€™s symptoms and medical history and examine your child. The diagnosis is often made when your baby is first born, before he leaves the hospital.
How is it treated?
In general, hypospadias causes no immediate problems for baby boys and surgery can be delayed until the baby is older. The treatment is surgery, usually done by a pediatric urologist when your child is 6 to 12 months old. With surgery, the urethra can be put in the correct position and, if needed, the penis can be straightened.
In most cases, your child will be able to urinate normally after surgery.
How can I take care of my child?
Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your childâ€™s healthcare provider. Ask your provider:
How long it will take for your child to recover
If there are activities your child should avoid and when your child can return to normal activities
How to take care of your child at home
What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2015-01-29 Last reviewed: 2015-01-29
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Kliegman, R.M., Stanton, B., St. Geme, J., Schor, N., and Behrman, R. (2011). Anomalies of the Penis and Urethra. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 19th Ed; Ch 538, 1852-1858. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders.
Centers for Disease Control, last reviewed 07/12/13, last updated 07/12/13. Content source – Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, NCBDDD, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 10/7/13 – http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/hypospadias.html.