What is Hypospadias?

What is Hypospadias?

Hypospadias is a birth defect in which the opening of the urethra (the duct through which the urine and semen pass out), is abnormally placed in the boys. The opening of the urethra in hypospadias is located on the underside of the penis instead of the tip. The opening can be found along the penis, or at times in the scrotum or even lower, near the anus.

Is Hypospadias Common?

Yes, it is! Hypospadias affects approximately one in every 150 male newborns in India.

Health Consequences of Hypospadias

Hypospadias poses significant challenges to urinary function, genital aesthetics, and sexual function later in life.

Hypospadias can be diagnosed: At birth or during early childhood, more severe cases of hypospadias can be diagnosed while the baby is still in the uterus through fetal ultrasounds. The condition can vary in severity, with some cases requiring surgical intervention to correct the urethral opening and restore normal urinary and sexual function. “Hypospadias requires comprehensive understanding and tailored management approaches to ensure optimal outcomes for affected individuals. Fortunately, we have successfully treated many simple and complex cases, and have done the maximum corrective surgeries for Hypospadias across the world,” says Dr. VVS Chandrasekharam, Chief Surgeon, Pediatric Surgery and Pediatric Urology, Ankura Hospital for Women and Children.

What Causes Hypospadias?

The exact cause of hypospadias is not fully understood; however, some factors have shown to play a role. It can have a genetic association, if anyone in the family had it the newborn can have it too. Maternal exposure to some chemicals, and hormonal imbalance during early pregnancy have also shown to have an association. Smoking during pregnancy, maternal age above 35, and mother’s BMI more than 30 are some other factors, which may result in Hypospadias in the baby. Though hypospadias can present without any other medical condition, at times it is a part of other congenital problems. The defect forms while the baby is still in the womb, during early pregnancy.

How Will A Parent Know If The Child Has Hypospadias?

The parents can observe that the opening of the urethra is not at the tip of the penis, which is an evident sign. Other symptoms that can help them know that it could be Hypospadias, include:

  • The babies will not urinate in a straight stream; the urine would rather go on sides or down.
  • The foreskin that covers the penis completely is undeveloped in this condition and covers only a part of the penis. The skin may not be present on the lower shaft of the penis.
  • The penis may be curved downwards (Chordee)
  • One or both testicles are not descended in the scrotum

Checking for hypospadias is a part of routine newborn physical examination, and parents are informed about it if detected.

What Are The Treatment Options?

As hypospadias varies in severity the treatment options depend on the disease presentation. In milder cases, parents are just asked to observe, and no treatment is required. In more severe cases a corrective surgery can treat hypospadias. The surgery is done under general anaesthesia, and during the surgical procedure, the opening of the urethra is repositioned, the penis is straightened if required, and the foreskin is reconstructed.

The best time for surgery: Is between 6 to 12 months of age, unless it is extremely severe.

Surgery requires: General anaesthesia, and at times babies can also be taken home on the same day.

For healing: A soft and temporary drainage catheter is placed in the penis, and left for about one to two weeks.

Which Specialty Of Doctor Treats Hypospadias?

A pediatric surgeon and urologist is specialised in performing corrective surgery needed for Hypospadias. They are doctors who are super specialised to perform surgeries in babies and children. Ankura Hospital

for Women and Children has a team of experienced experts who can perform corrective surgery for Hypospadias, and have successfully treated many cases in the past.

Can Hypospadias Be Prevented?

Since the cause isn’t well defined and Hypospadias may develop due to many factors it isn’t an absolutely preventable condition. However, one can reduce the risk by not smoking and drinking, maintaining healthy weight, taking supplements such as folic acid regularly, and regular health checkups during pregnancy.

Will The Surgically Treated Child Face Any Difficulties In The Future?

Absolutely not! After a hypospadias repair, there will be no difficulty in urination or sexual function in the future. The child can function normally, without any further medical needs.

Timely identification and correction can help your child recover easily from Hypospadias.

       Author- Dr VVS  Chandrasekhram 

Dr VVS Chandrasekhram
Author: Dr VVS Chandrasekhram

Chief Paediatric Urologist and Surgeon, Ankura Hospital for Women and Children

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