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What Causes Meatal Stenosis?

Meatal stenosis is mostly linked with circumcision and is rarely seen in uncircumcised males. It’s likely that the newly exposed tip of the penis (including the meatus) suffers from a mild injury causing meatus to narrow (stenosis). Uric acid and ammonia crystals are the most common cause for the narrowing of the meatus. These crystals are found in the urine and can be left in the diaper before your baby is changed. These crystals may cause a low grade inflammation which can cause the meatus to narrow over time.

Meatal stenosis can also result from mild ischemia (not enough blood to that part of the body) that occurs during circumcision. Finally, it can also be caused by a mild injury to the tip of the penis as it rubs against the diaper or the child’s own skin after circumcision.

Meatal stenosis can also occur after hypospadias repair. While this isn’t common, it’s seen in up to 1 in 25 patients who have this surgery.

The risk of meatal stenosis is also higher with:

  • Injury to the penis tip
  • Inflammatory skin conditions (including balanitis and BXO)
  • Long-time use of urinary catheters (tubes)