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Could your child have a manhood problem?

By Faeza
02 September 2016

Most boys are born with healthy and normal private parts. But sometimes your child can be born with a common condition called hypospadia. Hypospadias is a condition where a penis doesn’t work well, but also doesn’t look normal. A pediatric urologist tells Move! how to fix this problem surgically.

UNDERSTANDING HYPOSPADIAS

Dr Izak van Heerden, a paediatric urologist says, “Hypospadia is an abnormal development of the urethra. The urethra is the tube that carries the urine from the bladder to the outside. With this defect the opening of the urethra is not on the tip of the penis, but more to the middle or the base. There is also an added bending of the manhood and an abnormality of the foreskin.”

According to Mayo Clinic, a non-profit organisation, “You may feel distressed if your son is born with hypospadias, but it is common and shouldn’t mean you can’t care for your child if they are born with it. Surgery can restore the normal appearance of your child’s manhood and with successful treatment, most men can eventually have normal adult sexual function.”

IS IT GENETIC?

Dr Izak explains that hypospadias is a genetic condition, and only little boys get it. Though the cause of hypospadias is unknown, it can be linked to both environmental and genetic factors. “This condition is common in infants with a family history of hypospadias. Research suggests that there may be an increased risk of hypospadias in infants born to women of an advanced age.”

SIGNS OF HYPOSPADIAS:

¯ Downward curve of the manhood

¯ Hooded appearance of the manhood because only the top half of the manhood is covered by foreskin

¯ Abnormal spraying during urination

¯ Opening of the urethra (used for urinating) at a location other than the tip of the penis

MORE AFTER DIAGNOSIS

Dr Izak says that hypospadias is diagnosed at birth and it is usually easy to observe. “Anybody looking at the manhood will see that it looks abnormal, but it is usually picked up by the attending obstetrician or midwife,” he says. Most infants with hypospadias are diagnosed soon after birth while they're still in hospital. “It’s possible that less severe hypospadias may be overlooked and if not treated, a child may have problems learning to use a toilet properly. During adulthood, untreated hypospadias can cause difficulty in achieving an erection.”

CORRECT THE PROBLEM

“If the defect is not corrected it may cause physical and emotional trauma. Men who have not corrected the condition keep it a secret due to the sensitive nature of the subject,” says Dr Izak. Hypospadia can be corrected at any stage in life but it's better to do the procedure between six and 18 months of age because the tissue heals better in small babies than in adults. Dr Izak says a parent should not tell the child their penis is abnormal. “You must tell the child that there was a problem with the urethra and foreskin, and that is why the manhood is circumcised,” says Dr Izak. Your child must see a doctor at least once during puberty to make sure that the urination is normal.

GET HELP

¯ The Urology Hospital Tel: 012 423 4003

E-mail: urology@urology.co.za.

Website: www.urology.co.za

Facebook: Pretoria Urology Hospital