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Symptoms of hypospadias and related conditions

Hypospadias, a birth defect in males, is a condition in which the urethra (the tube through which urine passes out of the body) develops incorrectly and the urinary meatus (or opening of the urethra) is out of position. Rather than located at the tip of the penis where it should be, the opening is located anywhere from the underside of the penis to the scrotum.

Hypospadias Causes and Symptoms

Hypospadias occurs in one out of 250 male births, making it relatively rare, though it is still among the top male genitalia birth defects. It is believed that some occurrences of the condition are genetic, though they are not associated with inheritance or reoccurrence in the same family. Additional causes aren't fully understood, though hormone treatments and fluctuations during pregnancy have both been linked to the condition.

Symptoms of this condition are minimal, especially during infancy and in young children. If the patient reaches the teen years or adulthood without treatment, he will experience difficulty controlling the urine stream while relieving himself, and may be unable to urinate while standing.

Hypospadias Treatment

Surgical hypospadias repair is the most effective form of treatment for this condition. Types of surgical correction include repositioning the urethra, adjusting the urethral opening placement in the head of the penis or reconstructing the skin around the urethral opening. In each of these surgeries, it's important to note that the foreskin may be essential in surgical repair, so circumcision is not recommended.

It's best for patients to undergo hypospadias repair at a young age, as this will greatly cut down on the risks of bleeding, infection, penis curvature and narrowing of the urethra.

Conditions Related to Hypospadias

There is a form of hypospadias suffered by women, in which the genitals are positioned abnormally. These cases are very rare, and can be corrected through surgical treatment. Other related conditions include:

  • Chordee (a condition in which the penis is not completely separated from the perineum)
  • Cryptorchidism (un-descended testicles)
  • Epispadias (a rare urethral malformation that results in abnormal midline penile fusion)
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