Hypospadias: An Overview
Hypospadias is a congenital birth defect that causes the opening of the urethra to be displaced to the underside of the penis instead of the tip. The urethra is responsible for draining the urine from the bladder and expelling it outside the body.
Hypospadias is a common condition that affects every 1 out of 200 boys. The most common treatment modality employed to treat hypospadias is surgery. Successful treatment not only ensures normal function i.e., urination and reproduction, but it also restores the normal appearance of the child’s penis.
Hypospadias can be classified into three main types depending on the location of the opening of the urethra.
- Subcoronal: The meatus is located near the head of the penis
- Midshaft: The meatus is located along the penis shaft
- Penoscrotal: The meatus is located at the meeting point of the scrotum and penis.
Symptoms of Hypospadias
Hypospadias entails the dislocation of the meatus (opening) of the penis, most commonly on the underside of the penis. In some cases, however, the meatus may be located within the head of the penis or at the base or middle of the penis. Rare cases report the presence of the meatus in or beneath the scrotum.
Signs and symptoms of the ailment may include:
- Opening of the urethra dislocated to any other location other than the tip of the penis
- Hooded appearance because only the top half is covered with foreskin
- Abnormal spraying during urination
- Chordee, or downward curving appearance of the penis
Most cases of hypospadias are diagnosed soon after birth while still in the hospital. If the displacement is subtle, it may be more difficult to identify early on. As a parent, if you have concerns about the appearance of your child’s penis or observe any problems with urination, we suggest consulting a specialist.
Hypospadias is a congenital defect that results due to a malfunction in the action of hormones. Hormones are responsible for stimulating the formation of the penis, urethra, and foreskin in the male fetus. Fluctuations in hormonal levels can be attributed to causing the urethra to develop abnormally.
While the exact cause behind hypospadias is unknown in most cases, in some cases, environmental factors play a role in its development.
Hypospadias: Risk Factors
There are a few risk factors associated with the development of hypospadias. These include:
- Family history: Studies prove that hypospadias is more prevalent in infants with a family history of hypospadias.
- Genetics: Specific gene variations have also been studied to impact the hormonal disruption that stimulates the formation of the male genitalia.
- Maternal age of 35: Research suggests that mothers over the age of 35 have a higher risk of giving birth to males with hypospadias.
- Exposure during pregnancy: Exposure to certain hormones or compounds, like industrial chemicals or pesticides, may have an impact on the development of hypospadias. Further studies are needed to solidify this claim, however.
- Weight of the Mother: Obese mothers have a higher chance of giving birth to boys with hypospadias.
If hypospadias is left untreated, it can result in an array of issues including:
- Abnormal penis shape
- Abnormal curvature of the penis with erection
- Problems with ejaculation
- Problems with urination
Hypospadias: Urinary problems
Perhaps the most commonly asked query related to hypospadias is related to urinary problems after the surgery. Urinary problems are common before the surgery, for obvious reasons. The real question lies in whether the issue will be resolved after the surgery or not.
Hypospadias repair surgery, although a routine procedure, comes with a set of risks and post-op complications.
The most commonly reported post-op problem associated with hypospadias repair surgery is the formation of a fistula, or hole, in another location on the penis.
The fistula results in the formation of a new path connecting the urethra and skin. Scars may also form in the channel or the meatus that interfere with urination.
If you observe urine leaking from a second hole or an unsteady or slow urinary stream, consult a pediatric urologist at a hypospadias specialty center immediately.
While most complications associated with the surgery appear within the first few months of the surgery, fistulas or scar blocks may go undiagnosed for years. Both issues, however, can be easily repaired with the help of surgery.
Most forms of hypospadias can be easily corrected with a single surgery. Complex cases of the condition may require multiple surgeries as well. Regardless, the surgery reports success in most cases.
Much like any other surgical procedure, follow up care is critical following hypospadias repair surgery.
Children who undergo repair surgery have an aesthetically normal penis and experience normal reproduction and urination as well.
If you have any queries, we recommend seeking professional help for the best-personalized treatment approach.