by Neff DM


Hypospadias is a problem with how the penis develops before birth. The meatus is the opening that urine passes through. It should be on the tip of the penis. When the opening develops on the underside of the penis it is called hypospadias.

Male Reproductive System
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Hypospadias develops before a child is born. The exact cause is not known.

Risk Factors

Things that increase the chance of a baby having hypospadias are:

  • Family history of hypospadias
  • Mother being older or having in vitro fertilization
  • Mother is exposed to harmful items in environment during pregnancy
  • Fetus has growth problems during the pregnancy


The abnormal location of opening will be visible. Other symptoms may include:

  • Curve of the penis—called chordee
  • Abnormal spray when passing urine
  • Foreskin only covers part of the head of the penis


The doctor can see hypospadias during a physical exam. It is often diagnosed at birth.


Mild hypospadias may not need treatment. Some can cause problems passing urine. A surgery may then be done. The goals of surgery are to:

  • Reconstruct the opening of the urethra
  • Straighten a curved penis

Skin from the foreskin or inside of the mouth may be used to rebuild the area.


The cause of hypospadias is not clear so there are no clear steps to prevent it.


Healthy Children—American Academy of Pediatrics 

Urology Care Foundation 


Canadian Urological Association 

Health Canada 


Hypospadias. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: . Accessed September 2, 2020.

Hypospadias: a birth defect of the penis. Healthy Children—Academy of Pediatrics website. Available at: Accessed September 2, 2020.

Marrocco G, Grammatico P, Vallasciani S, et al. Environmental, parental and gestational factors that influence the occurrence of hypospadias in male patients. J Pediatr Urol. 2015 Feb;11(1):12-99

Tekgul S, Dogan HS, Kocvara R, et al; European Society for Paediatric Urology and European Association of Urology (ESPU/EAU). Guidelines on Paediatric Urology. EAU 2017 Mar.

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
  • Review Date: 09/2020
  • Update Date: 09/03/2020