Asked by Ken Moore, North Attleboro, Massachusetts
My 5-year-old son urinates upward and not downward. What can be done to correct this problem?
Living Well Expert
Dr. Jennifer Shu
Children's Medical Group
An abnormal urinary stream (one that points up, down or to the side or that dribbles or sprays) is usually caused by an abnormality in the opening of the urethra, which is the tube that goes from the bladder to the end of the penis.
The most common cause of having an upward urinary stream in boys is a condition called meatal stenosis, where the opening -- or "meatus" -- of the urethra is narrower than usual. Other causes of an abnormal stream include having the urethral opening come out at an atypical location on the penis (called epispadias when it is above and hypospadias when it is below the normal opening), and urethral polyps, strictures or cysts.
Meatal stenosis can be present from birth, but more frequently it results from trauma, inflammation or scarring after an infection or injury to the penis or after a surgery, such as circumcision. The treatment for an abnormal stream of urine from meatal stenosis is usually an outpatient procedure to widen the end of the urethra.
Your child's pediatrician or pediatric urologist can check to see what may be causing the upward stream and recommend the appropriate treatment. I wish you the best of luck.
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