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.
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.
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.
From Nemours' KidsHealth
- Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections and Related Conditions
- Kidneys and Urinary Tract
- What Can I Do About My Child's Bedwetting?
- Urine Test: Dipstick
- Ultrasound: Renal (Kidneys, Ureters, Bladder)
- Urinary Tract Infections
- X-Ray Exam: Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG)
- Urine Test: Protein
- Urine Test: Calcium
- Urine Test: Creatinine
- A to Z: Cystitis
- A to Z: Edema
- A to Z: Neurogenic Bladder
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What Is Bedwetting?
Bedwetting is when kids who are old enough to control their bladder pee at night during sleep. It's a common problem in kids, especially those under 6 years old.
Why Does Bedwetting Happen?
Doctors don't know for sure what causes bedwetting or why it stops. But it's often a natural part of development, and kids usually grow out of it. It's most common in young kids, but can last into the teen years. Most of the time, bedwetting is not a sign of any deeper medical or emotional issues.
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.
How Can We Cope With Bedwetting?
Bedwetting is an issue that millions of families face every night, and can be very stressful. 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 usually goes away on its own, but may last for a while. It can be embarrassing and uncomfortable for your child, so it's important to provide emotional support until it stops.
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 any other family members who struggled with it when they were young.
Try to have your child drink more fluids during the daytime hours and less at night (and avoid caffeine-containing drinks). Then remind your child to go to the bathroom one final time before bedtime. 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. Have your child help you change the sheets. Explain that this isn't punishment, but it is 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 Should I Call the Doctor?
Bedwetting that begins suddenly or happens with other symptoms can be a sign of another medical condition, so talk with your doctor.
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 pee often
- is drinking or eating much more than usual
- has swelling of the feet or ankles
- is 7 years of age or older and still wetting the bed
Also let the doctor know if your child is under a lot of stress, if you're feeling frustrated with the situation, or if you could use some help. In the meantime, your support and patience can go a long way in helping your child feel better about and overcome the bedwetting.
Remember, the long-term outlook is excellent and in almost all cases, dry days are just ahead.
Reviewed by: Marcella A. Escoto, DO
Date reviewed: August 14, 2015