A birth abnormality of the penis, hypospadias is the second most common abnormality of the male reproductive system, a condition which affects 1 in every 250 males. While some cases are minor and don’t require correction, others are very severe and need to be operated on by a paediatric surgeon specialising in hypospadias in Perth.
What is Hypospadias?
Hypospadias is a condition of the male reproductive system, but what is it exactly? Hypospadias is an abnormality of the urethra at birth in which the urinary opening isn’t situated at its usual location, which is on the head of the penis. There are two types of hypospadias, distal hypospadias in which the meatus (urinary tract opening) is located on the head of the glans (the head of the penis) and proximal hypospadias, in which the meatus is located within the scrotum or near the scrotum.
Distal hypospadias is the more common of the two with approximately 90% of all cases, while proximal hypospadias is less common, affecting 10% of all cases. If you’d like to learn more about hypospadias, a good website to visit is http://www.childrensurgery.com.au. Here you’ll find information on conditions such as hypospadias as well as information about treatment.
As is common with birth defects, whether of the reproductive system or another bodily system, there are often associated conditions with hypospadias. The most common of these is cryptorchidism, which is a condition of the male reproductive system in which the testes don’t descend from the scrotum. This affects approximately 3% of all full-term births and 30% of all premature births, making it the most common condition of the male reproductive system.
Another condition associated with hypospadias is chordee, a downward bending of the penis. This conditions affects 10% of distal hypospadias cases and 50 % of proximal hypospadias cases.
Diagnosis and Causes of Hypospadias
Hypospadias is usually diagnosed at birth, with most cases diagnosed while the baby is still at the newborn nursery. It is usually diagnosed by the unusual characteristics of the shape of the penis, and in severe cases of proximal hypospadias it’s easily diagnosed.
Regarding circumcision, it’s very rare for a baby to be diagnosed with hypospadias after the circumcision has been performed and once treated it’s safe for the circumcision to take place.
Hypospadias is believed to result from the urinary channel’s failure to tubularise all the way to the end of the penis, as is normal. However, this is just one of several theories, as the cause of hypospadias is still not yet known. This is because like cryptorchidism, the condition which results in undescended testes, most cases diagnosed are found to have no other abnormalities which can be associated with the condition, making it the only abnormal finding in the case.
Only in about 10% of all cases is hypospadias part of a syndrome with multiple abnormalities of the reproductive system. Although in some cases it’s found in males whose fathers have the condition, this occurs in a small percentage of cases, which means it can’t be attributed to genetic inheritance.