The urethra is the tube that takes urine from the bladder out of the body through the penis. Hypospadias is a condition, present at birth, that occurs when a boy’s urethra is too short. The urethra opens along the shaft of the penis (usually underneath) rather than at the tip (head) of the penis. Hypospadias can be mild to severe, depending on where the urethra opens. It’s fairly common, occurring in about 1 in 250 to 300 male babies in the United States.
Surgery is the usual treatment. Your healthcare provider makes a new opening for the urethra in the head of the penis. Surgery is best done early, between 6 and 12 months of age. However, surgery can also be done on adults.
Surgery isn't major. Most boys go home the day they have the surgery. They will have a catheter in the penis to drain urine. The urine normally has blood in it. Most catheters are removed in 10 days. Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine for pain and antibiotic medicine to prevent infection. Usually two checkups are needed after surgery. After surgery, a normal future sex life and the ability to father children are expected.
If hypospadias isn't treated, problems with toilet training, sex in adulthood, and urethral strictures and fistulas may occur.
Your healthcare provider makes a diagnosis from a medical history and physical examination and may suggest seeing a urologist.
The opening of the urethra isn't at the head of the penis. It's usually near the head but can be at the middle or bottom of the penis. Some males also have a curved penis when erect, have abnormal spraying of urine, and may need to sit down to urinate.
The cause ls unknown, but genetic, endocrine, and environmental factors may be involved.
- Tell your healthcare provider about your child’s medical problems.
- Use two diapers after surgery, one to collect stool and one to collect urine from the catheter.
- Keep your child’s penis clean. If stool gets on the wound, rinse the area clean with water.
- Call your child’s healthcare provider right away if after surgery your child has fever, pus coming from the penis, no urine coming from the penis for more than 1 hour, or urine squirting from any part on the penis.
- Call your healthcare provider right away or go to the emergency room if after surgery your child has bleeding from his penis that doesn’t stop.
- Do not have your child circumcised without your health care provider’s OK.
- Avoid letting your child straddle toys such as a tricycle or bouncer without your healthcare provider’s OK.
- Avoid giving your child a bath without your healthcare provider’s OK.
- Do not try to move your child’s catheter.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider.