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.

Urine Test: Calcium

What It Is

A urine calcium test is done to determine how much of the mineral calcium is being excreted in the urine by the kidneys.

Why It's Done

A urine test for calcium is often done to:

  • help determine the cause of kidney stones and other kidney diseases
  • detect overactivity or underactivity in the parathyroid glands (glands in the neck that produce hormones that help control the level of calcium in the blood)
  • monitor disorders of the kidney and diseases of calcium metabolism

Results may also point to digestive disorders that interfere with the small intestine's ability to absorb nutrients. The urine calcium test is usually used in combination with other tests to make a specific diagnosis.

Preparation

The doctor might prescribe a special diet with high or low levels of calcium for a few days before the test. Your child might need to temporarily stop taking specific drugs, such as antacids, that affect calcium levels in the urine.

The Procedure

Collecting the specimen should only take a few minutes. Your child will be asked to urinate into a clean sample cup in the doctor's office. If your child isn't potty trained and can't urinate into a cup, a small catheter may need to be inserted into the bladder to obtain the urine specimen.

Alternatively, a urine collection bag with adhesive tape on one end may be used to collect a sample from an infant. You'll clean your baby's genital area and then arrange the bag around the urinary opening. Once the bag is in place, secure it with the attached tape. You can then put a diaper on your baby. Check your baby's collection bag and remove it after your child has urinated, usually within an hour.

After you bring the sample to the lab, technicians will analyze it for calcium content.

What to Expect

Because the test involves normal urination, there shouldn't be any discomfort as long as your child can provide a urine specimen.

Getting the Results

The results of the urine calcium test are usually available in 1-2 days. Your doctor will go over the results with you and explain what they mean. If abnormalities are found, your doctor may may want to do further tests to make a specific diagnosis.

Risks

Infants may occasionally experience skin irritation from the adhesive tape on the collection bag. If a catheter is used to obtain the urine, it may cause temporary discomfort. If you have any questions or concerns about this procedure, talk to your doctor.

Helping Your Child

Urine collections are usually painless. Explaining how the test will be conducted and why it's being done can help ease any fear. Make sure your child understands that there should be no foreign matter, such as toilet paper or hair, in the sample.

If You Have Questions

If you have questions about the urine calcium test, speak with your doctor.

Reviewed by: Yamini Durani, MD
Date reviewed: February 2012