What is Hypospadias?


Hypospadias is a congenital condition in boys wherein the urethral opening is not situated at the tip of the penis. During weeks 8–14 of pregnancy, the urethra develops abnormally in boys with hypospadias. The abnormal opening can occur anywhere from just below the end of the penis to the scrotum, with varying degrees of severity.

Types of Hypospadias

The specific type of hypospadias a boy has is determined by the location of the urethral opening:

  1. Distal: The opening is near the head of the penis.
  2. Midshaft: The opening is along the shaft of the penis.
  3. Proximal: The opening is where the penis and scrotum meet.

Other Associated Issues

Boys with hypospadias may experience a curved penis, abnormal urine spraying, and a possibility of the testicle not fully descending into the scrotum. If left untreated, hypospadias can lead to complications in adulthood, including difficulties with sexual intercourse or standing urination.

Prevalence of Hypospadias

Approximately 1 in every 200 babies is estimated to be born with hypospadias in the United States, making it one of the more common birth defects.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact causes of hypospadias in most cases remain unknown. It is believed to result from a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including maternal exposure to certain substances during pregnancy. Research has shown associations with factors such as maternal age over 35, obesity, the use of assisted reproductive technology, and exposure to specific hormones during pregnancy.


Hypospadias is typically diagnosed through a physical examination after the baby’s birth.


The treatment for hypospadias varies based on the specific defect. Most cases require surgical correction, usually performed between ages 6 and 18 months. Surgical procedures may involve repositioning the urethral opening, correcting penile curvature, and repairing the surrounding skin. In cases requiring foreskin for repairs, circumcision should be avoided.

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