Congenital Malformation of Male and Female Genital Tract

Congenital malformation of male and female genital tract, are structural defects occurring in boys and girls since birth. It is difficult to detect some of these malformations during early life. While some of the malformations appear externally, some conditions may be noticed only later in life or when certain symptoms develop.

Congenital Malformation of Male and Female Genital Tract

Causes of Congenital Malformation of Male and Female Genital Tract

Genital malformation in male and female tract basically occurs during the development stage of the fetus within the womb. Such defects might cause structural and functional problems in the genital tract of an individual.

Some of the causes of congenital malformation of male and female genital tract include

  • Defect in chromosomes
  • Exposure of fetus to harmful substances or components
  • It might also develop due to unknown cases.

However, in most cases, congenital malformation of male and female genital tract can be treated surgically. There are complete chances of individuals getting rid of such congenital defects, if diagnosed in time. Hence it is advisable that babies born with genital malformation, should be immediately taken to a doctor, so that appropriate treatment can be planned at the right time.

Congenital Malformation of Male Genital Tract

As the structure of genital tract is different in girls and boys, congenital malformation of the genital tract is also different in both. Some of the common congenita l malformations of the male genital tract include

  1. Undescended Testes: This is one of the most common congenital malformation in boys. The two testes descend into the sac just before the birth of a boy. In undescended testes, the testes fail to come down to scrotum. If the testes remain in the pelvic area for a long time, they can become dysfunctional. These testes can further affect the production of sperms, which can affect the fertility and can also increase the risk of testicular cancer.

    Undescended testes may be seen more in preterm babies, however, it is common for the testes to descend during the first year of the boy’s life. If it does not, further treatment with hormones or surgical treatment to bring the testes down may be performed. Appropriate treatment is necessary to reduce the risk of damage to the testicles.

  2. Hypospadias: Hypospadias is another common congenital malformation of male genital tract. This birth defect occurs in the urethra, which is a passage through which urine and sperm pass. In normal boys, urinary opening is located towards the head of penis, however in hypospadias the ureteral opening might be situated in an area other than the head. It can be either at the junction of penis or at the scrotum or beneath the penis. This too can be corrected by surgical repair.
  3. Small Penis: The causes of under developed or small penis is not known yet, but it is believed that hormones contribute to small penis. This malformation is also known as micropenis, which can affect the fertility of the child when he grows into an adult. It may be often misinterpreted as normal condition, but it can be a congenital disorder in some.
  4. Congenital Hernia: In regular and normal circumstances, opening between abdomen and scrotum closes after birth of the baby. However there are situations when it remains open. This gives way to intestine from abdominal cavity into scrotum leading to swelling in scrotum. Such swelling occurs while standing and the same recedes when the baby lies down. This congenital malformation of the genital tract in a male child can be treated with surgery.

Congenital Malformation of Female Genital Tract

Aberrations, mutation of genes or environmental factors can contribute to the congenital malformation of female genital tract. In circumstances, when the female fetus is not able to grow appropriately it leads to some malformations within girls. These include

  • Uterine Anomalies: Bicornuate uterus is one of the most frequent congenital malformation of the female genital tract. In this birth defect, the shape of the uterus is different from a normal one and is mostly split into two horns. There are different types, based on the various abnormal shapes of the uterus, most of which can have an impact on the fertility of the woman. Surgical correction of these uterine anomalies can be planned appropriately.
  • Congenital Anomalies in Hymen: Hymen is the covering which is the opening of the vagina. When some girls are born with congenital malformation of the hymen, it can cause difficulty in drainage of the mucus during the newborn period. Further it can cause problems during the menstrual period, as the flow gets obstructed due to inappropriate opening. Surgical correction of this congenital malformation of the female genital tract can be done.
  • Abnormalities in Vagina: There are chances of malformation in vagina, wherein the uterus is absent but ovaries are present within it. It is also possible that vagina is absent with the presence of other forms of external genitalia or sometimes there is double vagina. Almost any type of congenital malformation of the vagina can affect the reproductive functioning in girls. For most vaginal abnormalities surgical correction can be done.
  • External Female Genital: Other congenital malformation of female genital tract can be an external malformation wherein their labia may be either too large or fused in. This is quite different to what is present in the normal girls. The enlargement of labia can occur on one side or both the sides in a girl.
  • Ovarian Abnormalities: With this congenital defect, the baby girl will have more than one ovary or have structure that has both boy and girl tissues. This kind of condition is known as ovatestes and is said to be found in girls with congenital malformation in genitals.

These are some of the common congenital malformations in male and female genital tract. Considering the risk and damage to such babies and their future reproductive life, it is necessary that expecting mothers takes care and necessary precautions during their pregnancy. Also, diagnosis of the condition at the right time and taking necessary action for the treatment of congenital malformation of male and female genital tract is important.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 23, 2018

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