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Children's Health

When Your Child Has Hypospadias

Your baby boy has been diagnosed with hypospadias. This is an issue with the penis. About 5 in every 1,000 males born in the U.S. each year have this condition. It is often not serious. It can almost always be fixed with surgery if needed. This sheet tells you more about your child’s condition.

How to say it

hy-puh-SPAY-dee-uhs

What is hypospadias?

The tube that carries urine and sperm out of the body is called the urethra. It runs inside the penis and normally opens at the tip of the penis. With hypospadias, the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis instead. The opening may be down near the scrotum. Or it may be between the scrotum and the anus.

What causes hypospadias?

Hypospadias is something a child is born with (congenital condition). In most cases, the cause is unknown.

What are the signs of hypospadias?

A child with hypospadias has a urethra that doesn't open at the tip of the penis. He may also have these symptoms:

  • The penis curves downward (chordee)

  • The foreskin doesn’t cover the glans (dorsal hood)

How is hypospadias diagnosed?

Hypospadias may be seen at your newborn’s physical exam.

How is hypospadias treated?

In mild cases, the urethra may not need correction. In moderate to severe cases, your child may need surgery to correct how the penis looks. Boys with hypospadias may not be circumcised as newborns. This is so the foreskin can be used to repair the urethra in the future. The repair surgery is often done when the child is  3 to 18 months old. During surgery, the penis is straightened if needed. In some cases, you child may need more than one surgery.

What are the long-term concerns?

Left untreated, mild hypospadias often carries no long-term concerns. But in more serious cases, the condition can make it hard for the child to urinate normally. He may need to sit down to urinate. In severe cases, an adult male with untreated hypospadias may have trouble delivering sperm and getting a woman pregnant. 

Online Medical Reviewer: Amy Finke RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Liora C Adler MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2020
© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. 800 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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