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My urethra opens in the wrong place on my penis

Three emails:

Q: I have a strange problem. My pee-hole opens on the underneath of my glans. I have never seen anyone else's penis like this, even though I've only managed to sneak the odd peek in the gents' urinals. What is the problem?

Q: My penis opens way up my glans, so high up that I have to hold my penis down when I'm pissing. Why is this?

Q: My urine forms a stream that squirts out all over the place. When I examined the opening of my penis, I found it was split in two, almost like it has a band of skin across. Do you know why this is?

A: The opening of the urethra (medically known as the urethral meatus, and informally as the pee-hole) is usually on the very end of the glans, and it most often forms either a perfectly round hole or a little slit. But the penis seems to be one of the most variable organs of the human body, and there are many variations of this standard pattern. In all such variations, the urine stream may not be a regular, neat stream, but may splash and break up in mid-flow.

(By the way, in case you've never realized, your urine will stream out in a pretty messy way if you have anything across your pee-hole, like a hair, a line of dried semen or vaginal mucus, or if you're into that sort of thing, body jewelry. But those things are either your own choice or entirely curable. Here we're discussing the problems with urination that result from a penis being slightly different to the average or "normal". I hate the word normal in this context, since it implies that all other penises are abnormal. They are not - they are just different. But it is unrealistic to deny that some penile variations are less common than others.)

In some cases, the variation is the result of a man's penis not developing quite in accordance with the normal pattern. The most common example of this is hypospadias, where the developmental process goes a bit wrong, and a guy's penis looks slightly different: often in that the pee-hole is not at the end of the penis, or, if it is near the end, forms a slit rather than a hole. You can see examples of a hypospadic penis with a slit-like urethral meatus below. (Click on the picture for a bigger image.)

meatuscoronalhypospadias3.jpg (16046 bytes) meatusfour.jpg (18007 bytes) meatusthree.jpg (6358 bytes)

meatustwo.jpg (84795 bytes)

In all of these cases, the urine stream is likely to be irregular and potentially messy.

Another variation of the regular urethral meatus is the split meatus, where a thin band of tissue splits the urethral opening into two. In some very rare cases there may actually be two urethras running the length of the penis. Although the image of the penis below is not a duplicated urethra, the opening is split into two, and the man's urination may be problematic as a result.

meatussix.jpg (16420 bytes)

The guy who mentioned (in one of the emails at the top of this page) having to hold his penis down when he urinated has another penile variation: one where the opening of his urethra is abnormally high up on his glans, in fact on the top surface of his glans when he holds his penis out at right angles to his body to urinate. While this may be inconvenient, in medical terms it is simply an uncommon anatomical variation.

Perhaps the most common penile variation which produces a messy urine stream is the presence of a long foreskin. In these cases, the cure is simple: hold back the foreskin before you pee!

In a few cases, surgery may help to cure the problem, although any responsible surgeon is only likely to undertake surgery on a very abnormal penis. Most cases of hypospadias and other penile variation are much better left alone, as surgery is very likely to make things worse.


Other pages of penis problems

My penis is too large / too small
My foreskin is too tight
Problems with arousal
I can't get an erection
Urethral opening abnormal
Torn frenulum - breve
My penis is twisted
Erectile dysfunction
Penis problems solved!
Andropause & mid-life crisis
Penile problems & injuries
Yeast Infections
Sex addiction & obsession
Sexually transmitted infections
Testosterone declines with age

Other sections on the site

The penis, masculinity and sex
A Cultural History Of The Penis
Penile & Other Problems
Sex positions during pregnancy