Micropenis in Children
What is micropenis in children?
A micropenis is a penis that is smaller than normal. The normal length of a newborn's penis is 1.1 to 1.6 inches. The measurement around a newborn's penis (the circumference) is normally 0.35 to 0.5 inches. The penis is measured by carefully stretching it. The penis is measured from the tip to the base. A newborn penis length of less than 0.75 inches is considered a micropenis. The diagnosis of micropenis is a length that is less than 2.5 standard deviations below average for age.
What causes micropenis in a child?
Micropenis can happen on its own. But it often happens along with other disorders. It can happen if a child has a hormone disorder that causes an abnormal level of the hormones that affect the growth of the sex organs. This can include problems with the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus.
What are the symptoms of micropenis in a child?
The most common sign of a micropenis is penis size in a baby that is less than 0.75 inches when stretched gently.
Having a small penis often doesn't cause any symptoms in a baby or child.
How is micropenis diagnosed in a child?
The healthcare provider will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. They may also ask about your family’s health history. They will give your child a physical exam. The physical exam may include carefully measuring your child’s penis. Sometimes a baby who is chubby has a lot of belly fat. This can make the baby's penis look small. This is why it is important to measure the penis length carefully with your child's provider. Your child may also have blood tests or other testing to check for a hormone disorder.
How is micropenis treated in a child?
Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.
Your child may be referred to specialists. These may include:
- Pediatric urologist. This is a healthcare provider who focuses on problems with the urinary tract and the male genitals in children.
- Pediatric endocrinologist. This is a healthcare provider who focuses on problems with hormones in children.
Hormone therapy may be used for some children. These can help to cause penile growth. In some cases, your child may need surgery. Talk with your child’s healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all treatments.
What are possible complications of micropenis in a child?
In some cases, a person with micropenis may have a low sperm count. This can lead to infertility or decreased fertility.
When should I call my child’s healthcare provider?
Call the healthcare provider if your child has:
- Symptoms that don’t get better, or get worse
- New symptoms
Key points about micropenis in children
- A micropenis is a penis that is smaller than normal. A penis length of less than 0.75 inches for a newborn is considered micropenis.
- It can happen on its own. But it often happens along with other disorders.
- It can occur with a hormone disorder that causes an abnormal level of the hormones involved in the growth of the sexual organs. This can include problems with the pituitary gland or the hypothalamus.
- Hormone therapy may be used to treat some children. This can help to cause penile growth. Sometimes surgery may be an option.
- In some cases, a person with micropenis may have low sperm count. This can result in infertility or decreased fertility.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:
- Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
- Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
- At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
- Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.
- Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
- Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
- Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
- If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
- Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours, and on weekends and holidays. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.