Congenital Malformation Of Male And Female Genital Tract

Malformations of genitals are structural defect of genital tract present in boys and girls since birth. Although rare, these defects are detected soon after birth or later in life. Some of the malformations are obvious on the external surface of genitals while some occur internally.

Genital malformation occurs during the developmental stage of fetus in the womb of a pregnant woman. These defects may affect the functioning of genital tract. Malformations in genital tract can be due to defect in chromosomes, result from exposure of fetus to harmful substances, or may develop due to unknown causes.

Many of these deformities can be surgically corrected.

Congenital Abnormalities Of Male Reproductive System

Malformation of genital tract is different in boys and girls as the structure of their genital tract are not the same.
Genital tract deformities in boys:

  • Undescended testes: It is one of the most common malformations in boys. Normally the two testes descend into the scrotum sac just before the birth. However, in some boys, the testes fail to come down in scrotum. If the testes remain for a long time in the pelvic area, it becomes dysfunctional. This may affect production of sperms later when the child grows into adulthood.
    A single or both the testes can remain undescended. If the testis does not come down in scrotum within two years normally, it may require surgical intervention.
  • Hypospadias: It is a birth defect of urethra, a passage through which urine and sperm passes out. Normally the urinary opening is located on the head of penis. But in hypospadias the urethral opening is situated in area other than the head. It may be at the junction of penis and scrotum, or beneath the head of penis etc.
  • Congenital hernia: In normal circumstances, the opening between abdomen and scrotum closes after birth of the baby.
    However, in few cases it may remain open. It makes the way for intestine from abdominal cavity into the scrotum. As a result the scrotum becomes swollen while standing. Swelling recedes when the baby lies down. This anomaly is corrected with surgery.
  • Small penis: The cause for its development is not known, but hormones are believed to play a role in small sized penis. Often called micropenis, it may affect fertility when the child becomes adult.

Congenital Malformation Of Female Genital Tract

Chromosomal aberrations, mutation of genes, and environmental factors all or anyone of them is involved in genital malformation in girls. This can happen when the baby’s genital tract is still in its developing stage in uterus.

  • Uterine anomalies: Bicornuate uterus is the most frequent genital malformation in girls. There may be single vagina, single cervix and double horned uteruses. Occasionally there is double vagina, double cervix and double uterus.
  • Vaginal abnormalities: Vaginal agenesis where the uterus is absent but the ovaries are present. There may be absence of vagina with presence of other external genitalia.
  • Abnormalities of hymen: Imperforate hymen is not uncommon. I may cause obstruction of menstrual blood at the time of menses.
  • Malformation of external female genitalia: The labia may be too large or fused in otherwise normal girl. Enlargement of labia can be one sided or on both the sides.
  • Ovarian abnormalities: The baby girl may have more than one ovary or may have structures having both male and female tissues called ovatestes.