Hypospadias is a birth defect in boys where their urethra (the pee-hole) does not develop at the tip of their penis. This abnormality usually occurs during 8-14 weeks of pregnancy. In boys with hypospadias, the condition is usually visible overtly.
Unfortunately, this condition is a daily common birth defect that affects 1 out of every 150 children. In India, over 80,000 boys are born with this condition every year. However, this condition can be corrected through surgery with a success rate of over 95%.
Types Of Hypospadias
Depending on the where the urethra is located, hypospadias can be of three types:
- Distal: Near the head of the penis. This is the most common type of hypospadias constituting over 70% of the cases.
- Midshaft: On the penis shaft
- Penoscrotal: At the meeting point of the penis and scrotum
What Causes Hypospadias?
There is no solid reason as to why boys get this developmental defect during their fetal stage. However, it seems to run in the family. Some environmental factors can also contribute to higher risk such as:
- An overweight mother over the age of 35
- Getting pregnant with the assistance of fertility treatments
- Smoking by the mother during gestation
- Exposure to other hormones from the mother’s system
- Exposure to toxins like pesticides
However, none of these factors can be solely held responsible for causing hypospadias in a boy child.
What Does Hypospadias Look Like?
Some common deformities can look like:
- Curved penis that bends downward
- Undeveloped foreskin
- Abnormal urine stream
- Undescended testitle
- Visibly mislocated urethra
Most infants born with hypospadias are diagnosed at birth. However, you usually have to wait for 3 -18 months before going for a corrective surgery.
Does Hypospadias Cause Any Complication?
If left untreated, hypospadias can cause many problems in the child, especially as an adult. Here are a few common complications:
- Difficulty in urinating standing up
- Curved penis when erect leading to sexual dysfunction
- Tendency of premature ejaculation
Hypospadias can also be a part of more birth defects waiting to be discovered.
How Is Hypospadias Treated?
“Hypospadias does not correct itself. The only treatment available is a corrective surgery,” says Dr. Mallikarjuna Reddy. While some hypospadias surgeries correct the defect (e.g. in case of distal hypospadias) in just one attempt, more complex hypospadias need a few surgeries to get to the correct function.
The surgery is done under anesthesia; so your baby will feel no pain at all. The surgery includes two procedures – one is to straighten the penis and the other is to relocate the urethra. They can be done at the same time as well if the condition is mild. After the surgery, the boy will have to pee through a catheter for a week. Some painkillers and antibiotics will make sure that he recovers without any complications. The bandages will be changed frequently to make sure that the area is healing neatly. Follow the recovery regimen while maintaining superior hygiene practices for the child and you can expect your child to be back to his healthy self in 10-15 days!