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Hypospadias

Hypospadias is a birth defect that affects the male sex organs.

What It Is

Hypospadias is a congenital (present at birth) deformity of the male genitals that results in the incorrect positioning of the opening of the urethra. In healthy males, the urethra opens up at the glans (tip) of the penis; in males with hypospadias, the urethra is located on the underside of the penile shaft, at the base of the penis or even on the scrotum. In mild cases, the urethra is small, and located just below its normal placement on the penis. In severe cases, the opening can be wider and located closer to the base of the shaft. While it rarely poses a health problem for babies, hypospadias can make using a toilet difficult when the child grows older. In some cases, untreated hypospadias can eventually cause sexual dysfunction. Hypospadias occurs in approximately one in every 300 male births.

Symptoms

  • Urethral opening is located on a part of the penis other than the tip
  • Penis has a downward curvature, called chordee
  • Only the top half of the penis is covered by foreskin
  • Atypical amounts of spraying occur during urination

Causes

Depakote: A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that maternal use of Depakote during the first trimester of pregnancy is associated with nearly 5x the risk of delivering a baby with hypospadias.

Clomid: Another major study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that maternal use of the fertility drug Clomid during the two months prior to conception or the first month of pregnancy was associated with a 50% increased risk of delivering a baby with hypospadias.

Treatment

Treatment of hypospadias involves surgery to correct the placement of the urethra, and when necessary, to straighten the penis. Most surgeries are performed before the infant’s first birthday to minimize trauma from the surgery and recovery. Skin from the foreskin of the penis or from the inside of the cheek is used to create an extended urinary channel so that the urethra can be repositioned in its proper placement on the tip of the penis. Most surgeries are successful, resulting in normal or close to normal function and appearance of the penis.

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