Babies with epispadias are most often healthy and fine. Other than the problems with the genitourinary system and the pelvic bones, other organ systems tend to work well. Because of this, these children don't need a lot of diagnostic tests (such as X-rays and CT scans). If a baby is born with the more severe forms, they are at a higher risk for other defects, like enlarged ureters or vesicoureteral reflux.
Boys with penopubic epispadias or the exstrophy-epispadias complex may be infertile. In normal young men, the bladder neck is closed when sperm moves from the testicles to the urethra during ejaculation. In some men with this birth defect, the bladder neck may not close completely during ejaculation. This allows the sperm to move backwards into the bladder (retrograde ejaculation). This may cause problems when a couple is trying to have children. Some of these men may have poor sperm quality. Also, bending and a short, stubby penis can make it hard to have intercourse. Often, surgical repair can reduce these problems.
Females with epispadias usually aren't at risk for infertility, since their internal organs are normal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are children with epispadias more likely to get urinary tract infections?
At this time, no studies show that epispadias leads to urinary tract infections (UTIs). But in cases of complete exstrophy-epispadias, the child will be at increased risk. This is due to a condition called vesicoureteral reflux. These children are most often treated with a small dose of prophylactic antibiotics until the reflux is corrected.
Can epispadias be prevented?
There is no known prevention.
What is the best time for surgical treatment?
Many leading reconstructive surgeons recommend epispadias repair as early as possible. This is especially true for boys with penopubic or penile epispadias and all girls with the condition. When treated early, bladder capacity can often be improved. A well-developed bladder is important for good urinary control. Early bladder filling and emptying (cycling) can help strengthen the growing bladder. If surgery is done within the first few months of life, the child may have a better chance of having a normal bladder.
Until recently, epispadias reconstruction was delayed until the child was 1 year old. But some surgeons push for much earlier repair to achieve better bladder development.