Hypospadias: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Child playing with colorful blocks. Hypospadias

Related concepts:

Coronal hypospadias, Glanular hypospadias, Megameatal hypospadias, Midpenile hypospadias, Penoscrotal hypospadias, Perianal hypospadias Scrotal hypospadias, Subcoronal hypospadias.

Introduction to hypospadias:

Usually the opening of the penis is located right at the tip.

What is hypospadias?

Hypospadias is the name of the condition in which the opening of the penis (the meatus) is located some place other than the tip.

Who gets hypospadias?

Hypospadias occurs in about 1 in 250 boys, though it seems to be becoming more common. Those exposed to estrogens or to endocrine disrupting chemicals such as PCBs are at higher risk.

These same boys sometimes have undescended testicles, inguinal hernias, or hydroceles.

What are the symptoms of hypospadias?

The type of hypospadias depends on the location of the opening. There are several variants: glanular (on the head of the penis), coronal (on the ridge), subcoronal (below the ridge), midpenile (on the shaft), penoscrotal (between the penis and the scrotum), scrotal, and perianal hypospadias (near the anus). There is also a variant with a large, fish-mouth shaped opening called megameatal hypospadias.

Hypospadias can cause urinary problems. Also, it is often associated with abnormal penis angulation called chordee.

Is hypospadias contagious?


How long does hypospadias last?

It lasts until corrected.

How is hypospadias diagnosed?

The diagnosis is usually made on the physical exam.

How is hypospadias treated?

The treatment of hypospadias involves surgical correction. This is usually done between about 6 and 18 months of age, usually on an outpatient basis. In some boys the hypospadias is so mild that it does not need to be treated.

Newborn circumcision should be avoided in boys with obvious hypospadias. Sometimes hypospadias can occur with a full foreskin (usually a glanular or coronal hypospadias) and is only recognized at the time of circumcision. In those cases, the hypospadias repair generally is not complicated by having done a circumcision (Journal of Urology, 2006, 176(1), 296-298).

How can hypospadias be prevented?

Often hypospadias cannot be prevented. Avoiding exposure to estrogens and to endocrine disruptors such as dioxin, PCBs, DDT, and some other pesticides can prevent some cases. Many chemicals, particularly pesticides and plasticizers, are suspected endocrine disruptors based on limited animal studies.

Related A-to-Z Information:

Anorectal Malformations (Imperforate anus), Blocked Tear Duct, Cleft Lip and Palate, Clubfoot, Congenital Hip Dislocation, Constipation, Gastroesophageal Reflux, Hematuria, Hernia (Inguinal hernia), Hydrocele, Inconspicuous Penis, Labial Adhesions, Meatal Stenosis, Pyelonephritis, Pyloric Stenosis, Scoliosis, Sexual Abuse, Sexual Curiosity in Young Children, Undescended Testicle (Cryptorchidism), Urinary Tract Infection (Cystitis), Vesicoureteral Reflux

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.