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Environmental Public Health Tracking: Hypospadias Data

A birth defect is a problem that happens while the baby is developing in the mother's body. Most birth defects happen during the first three months of pregnancy. A birth defect may affect how the body looks, works, or both.

Access birth defects data

Hypospadias is one type of birth defect. Review the FAQs below for more information about hypospadias.

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Hypospadias (pronounced hy-poh-spay-dee-uhz) is a birth defect among boys where the opening of the urethra is located somewhere along the underside of the penis instead of at the tip. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. This defect occurs when the urethra does not complete its development during the pregnancy.

Researchers estimate about 1 of every 200 boys born in the United States are born with hypospadias each year.*

*Paulozzi LJ, Erickson JD, Jackson RJ. "Hypospadias trends in two US surveillance systems." Pediatrics 1997; 100:831–834. 

See also: *Mai CT, Isenberg J, Langlois PH, Alverson CJ, Gilboa SM, Rickard R, Canfield M, Anjohrin SB, Lupo PJ, Jackson DR, Stallings EB, Scheuerle AE, Kirby RS for the National Birth Defects Prevention Network. "Brief report, Population-based birth defects data in the United States, 2008 to 2012: Presentation of state-specific data and descriptive brief on variability of prevalence." Birth Def Res (Part A). 2015; 103:972-994.

The problems that babies with hypospadias will face will depend on the location and severity of the hypospadias. For information on problems, visit the CDC's (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Facts about Hypospadias page.

The exact cause of hypospadias is unknown, but the CDC notes some research findings of potential links on their Facts about Hypospadias page.

Treatment for hypospadias depends on the type of defect.  Learn more about treatment on the CDC's Facts about Hypospadias page.

There is no known way to prevent this type of defect, but some of the problems that can occur later in life can be prevented or lessened with treatment. Learn more on the CDC's Facts about Hypospadias page.

Last revised January 5, 2023