Hypospadias

Hypospadias is a condition in infant boys in which the opening that carries urine out of the body (the urethra) is on the underside, rather than the tip, of the penis. It’s a congenital condition, or present at birth, and that’s when you or your child’s doctor may first notice it.

 
What are the signs and causes of hypospadias?

There are different degrees of hypospadias, with the urethral opening appearing anywhere along the length of the penile shaft. Most are mild or moderate and a small percentage are severe. Hypospadias may cause your child to have a deflected urine stream.

There may also be other penile abnormalities associated with hypospadias. For example, the skin that covers the urethra is often thin and poorly developed and can result in bending of the penis, causing it to curve. This curvature is called a chordee. Although hypospadias may run in families, there’s no single known cause of the condition.

 
How is hypospadias treated?

You might feel worried if your son is born with hypospadias, but you should know that it is a common condition. Nemours pediatric urologists are experienced at repairing the problem and restoring the appearance and function of your child’s penis.

Our Nemours urologists correct hypospadias with surgery that is usually performed when your son is older than 4 months of age. Depending on the severity of hypospadias, our doctor may perform straightening of the penis, relocation of the meatus (urethra opening) to the tip of the penis and the creation of a cosmetic glans (head of the penis) and penile shaft.

The goal of hypospadias repair is to normalize urination, create normal erections, and to improve the cosmetic appearance of the penis. The surgery is often same day surgery, and the overall results are excellent, with children going on to have normal urinary and sexual function in adulthood.

Bedwetting

Bedwetting is an issue that millions of families face every night. It is extremely common among young kids but can last into the teen years.

Doctors don't know for sure what causes bedwetting or why it stops. But it is often a natural part of development, and kids usually grow out of it. Most of the time bedwetting is not a sign of any deeper medical or emotional issues.

All the same, bedwetting can be very stressful for families. Kids can feel embarrassed and guilty about wetting the bed and anxious about spending the night at a friend's house or at camp. Parents often feel helpless to stop it.

Bedwetting may last for a while, but providing emotional support and reassurance can help your child feel better until it stops.

How Common Is Bedwetting?

Nocturnal enuresis, the medical name for bedwetting, is a common problem in kids, especially children under the 6 years old. About 13% of 6-year-olds wet the bed, while about 5% of 10-year-olds do.

Bedwetting often runs in families: many kids who wet the bed have a relative who did, too. If both parents wet the bed when they were young, it's very likely that their child will.

Coping With Bedwetting

Bedwetting usually goes away on its own. But until it does, it can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for your child. So it's important to provide support and positive reinforcement during this process.

Reassure your child that bedwetting is a normal part of growing up and that it's not going to last forever. It may comfort your child to hear about other family members who also struggled with it when they were young.

Remind your child to go to the bathroom one final time before bedtime. Try to have your child drink more fluids during the daytime hours and less at night. Avoid caffeine-containing drinks. Many parents find that using a motivational system, such as stickers for dry nights with a small reward (such as a book) after a certain number of stickers, can work well. Bedwetting alarms also can be helpful.

When your child wakes with wet sheets, don't yell or punish him or her. Have your child help you change the sheets. Explain that this isn't punishment, but it is a part of the process. It may even help your child feel better knowing that he or she helped out. Offer praise when your child has a dry night.

When to Call the Doctor

Bedwetting that begins abruptly or is accompanied by other symptoms can be a sign of another medical condition, so talk with your doctor.

The doctor may check for signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI), constipation, bladder problems, diabetes, or severe stress.

Call the doctor if your child:

  • suddenly starts wetting the bed after being consistently dry for at least 6 months
  • begins to wet his or her pants during the day
  • snores at night
  • complains of a burning sensation or pain when urinating
  • has to urinate frequently
  • is drinking or eating much more than usual
  • has swelling of the feet or ankles
  • your child is still wetting the bed at age 7 years

Also let the doctor know if your child is experiencing a lot of stress, if you're feeling frustrated with the situation, or could use some help. In the meantime, your support and patience can go a long way in helping your child feel better about the bedwetting.

Remember, the long-term outlook is excellent and in almost all cases dry days are just ahead.

Reviewed by: Mary L. Gavin, MD
Date reviewed: January 2012