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Health Issues

Meatal Stenosis

In boys the meatus is the opening through which urine passes. Sometimes, particularly in circumcised boys, irritation of the tip of the penis causes scar tissue to form around the meatus, making it smaller. This narrowing, called meatal stenosis, may develop at any time during childhood, but is most commonly found between  ages three and seven.

Meatal stenosis is relatively rare. Boys with meatal stenosis have a narrowed and abnormally directed urinary stream. The stream is directed upward (toward the ceiling), making it difficult to urinate into the toilet without pushing the penis down between the legs. Your son may take longer to urinate, and have difficulty emptying his bladder completely.


If you notice that your son’s urinary stream is very small or narrow, or if he strains to urinate or dribbles or sprays urine, discuss it with your pediatrician. Meatal stenosis is not a serious condition, but it should be evaluated to see if it needs treatment.

In some cases, a steroid cream can be applied to the penis to correct the problem. If an operation is needed, this surgery is very minor and usually requires only local anesthesia. Your child will have some minor discomfort after the procedure, but this should disappear after a very short period of time.

Last Updated
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5 (Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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