What is Hypospadias?

What is Hypospadias?

Hypospadias is a condition in which the urethral opening of the penis is not located at the tip, but on the underside of the organ. It is a congenital disability in newborn boys that can be corrected with surgery.

Hypospadias is a common congenital disability that develops in utero, occurring in around 1 in every 200 babies born in the United States. It is more common in infants with a family history of the condition.

Types of Hypospadias


There are several types of hypospadias. Types are categorized by where the urethral opening exists on the underside of the baby’s penis. Openings can occur anywhere from just below the end of the penis to the scrotum.
Types of hypospadias include:

  • Subcoronal hypospadias. The urethral opening is located near the head of the penis
  • Midshaft. The urethral opening is located along the shaft of the penis
  • Penoscrotal hypospadias. The urethral opening is located where the penis and scrotum meet

Signs & Symptoms of Hypospadias


Some symptoms of hypospadias in children can include:

  • Abnormal placement of the urethral opening. The opening of the urethra is not at the tip of the penis, but somewhere on the underside of the shaft
  • Chordee. The shape of the penis curves downward
  • Abnormal urination spray. Since the urethral opening is misplaced, urine may not spray in a straight stream. Left untreated, boys and male adults will have difficulty peeing while standing.
  • Underdeveloped foreskin. In cases of hypospadias, the foreskin can be unformed, leaving the tip of the penis exposed and with a hooded appearance
  • Undescended testicle. Some males born with hypospadias can have a testicle that remains inside the body, instead of moving down to the scrotum

As the symptoms of hypospadias are easily identified, a pediatric specialist can provide a prompt diagnosis and treatment options.

Causes of Hypospadias


The exact cause of hypospadias in unknown. It is a congenital condition—the abnormal urethral opening develops in utero and is present from birth.

The general causes for hypospadias can include:

  • Hormonal malfunction during development. The fetal testes fail to produce enough testosterone.
  • Genetically inherited traits. Certain genes inherited from a parent may cause the condition

Risk Factors

Risk Factors

The specific causes of hypospadias are not clear. But there are genetic, environmental, and behavioral risk factors associated with developing the condition.

Some of the factors that can affect the risk of having a baby with hypospadias include:

  • Family history. Hypospadias is more common in male infants who have a history of the condition in their family
  • Genetics. Abnormal development of the male genitals may be linked to hormonal disruptions caused by certain gene variations.
  • Maternal age. Mothers-to-be over the age of 35 may have a higher risk for having a son with hypospadias.
  • Exposure to chemical substances. Further studies are needed, but there is some speculation that a pregnant mother’s exposure to certain pesticides or other chemical compounds can raise the risk of hypospadias.
  • Fertility treatments. Women who required fertility treatments to help them conceive may be at higher risk for having a baby with hypospadias.
  • Hormone treatments. Mothers who took hormones right before or during pregnancy can have a higher chance of having a son with hypospadias.
Get Care

Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Hypospadias Care

NewYork-Presbyterian houses some of the top pediatric urologists in the nation. Our doctors and specialists are familiar with the signs and symptoms of hypospadias and can deliver treatment options to address your baby’s function and comfort.

For compassionate and quality pediatric care, reach out to NewYork-Presbyterian for an appointment.