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Pediatric Urology - Hypospadias

Hypospadias is a birth defect occurring in boys in which the uretural opening (penile opening) is abnormally placed at a point along the underside of the penis instead ​of at the tip. 


Your Marshfield Clinic Urologist will recommend a specific treatment plan based on the degree of the hypospadias. 

However, in most cases, surgery during infancy is recommended. In more severe cases multiple procedures may be necessary to correct the condition.​

When Your Child Has Hypospadias

Your child has been diagnosed with hypospadias. It affects only males. According to the CDC, about 5 in every 1,000 males born in the U.S. each year have this condition.

It is usually not serious. It can almost always be corrected with surgery if needed. This sheet tells you more about your child’s condition.

Child's penis with penis pointing up to show underside. Foreskin surrounds glans at top of penis. Scrotum is underneath penis. Opening of urethra is in center of glans. Opening of urethra also called urethral meatus.
Normally, the opening of the urethral meatus is located at the tip of the penis.


Child's penis with penis pointing up to show underside. Foreskin surrounding glans is hooded and drapes over tip of penis. Dimple in tip of penis. Three holes along underside of penis in center from glans to scrotum show possible sites of urethra opening.
With hypospadias, the opening of the urethra is located on the underside of the penis or near the scrotum.

What is hypospadias?

The tube that carries urine out of the body is called the urethra. It runs inside the penis to the opening where urine leaves the body (urethral meatus). Hypospadias occurs when a defect in your child’s urethra results in the abnormal location of the urethral meatus.

Normally, the urethral meatus is located at the head of the penis (glans). But with hypospadias, the opening is on the underside of the penis, down near the scrotum, or in the area between the scrotum and the anus.

What causes hypospadias?

Hypospadias is congenital, meaning a child is born with it. In most cases, the cause is unknown.

What are the signs of hypospadias?

A child with hypospadias has a urethral meatus in an abnormal location. He may also have a penis that curves downward (chordee) and foreskin that 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 usually 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. 

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Take the Urinary Tract Infection Quiz

Your urinary tract includes the organs that collect and store urine and release it from your body. They are the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

1. The average adult passes about 3 quarts of urine a day.
2. Normal urine is sterile.
3. Many different types of bacteria can cause an infection of the urinary tract.
4. If an infection of the urethra isn't treated, the bacteria can move up to the bladder, causing an infection there.
5. A kidney stone can cause a UTI.
6. People with diabetes are more likely to get UTIs.
7. Women get more UTIs than men.
8. Feeling tired, shaky, and washed out are symptoms of a UTI.
9. Often, a UTI can be cured with 1 to 2 days of treatment.