The term hypospadias comes from the Greek terms hypo meaning “under” and spadon meaning “a tear”.
Hypospadias is considered a common “birth defect” that occurs in males where the hole through which urine and semen leave the body (the urethral meatus) is not located at the tip of the head of the penis. Instead, the opening is found on the underside of the head of the penis (the glans) or on the underside of the shaft of the penis. The opening can even be located well down the shaft, right in front of the scrotum; or between the testicles and the anus.
There are several other anatomical variations that often occur in men and boys with hypospadias. These include:
- An incomplete foreskin which is attached to the head or the sides of the penis but does not completely surround the head of the penis. This is often called a “dorsal hood”.
- A mushroom or helmet shaped head of the penis (the glans) rather than a cone-shaped one. This variation is quite common with hypospadias.
- A downward tilt of the penis head and shaft known as “chordee”.
Men who have the anatomical differences associated with hypospadias are often extremely involved with their own sense of masculinity, searching constantly for a reference point that will allow them to understand how they compare with other men.