Background: Hypospadias is a common malformation of male external genitalia, resulting in urethral displacement with different severity. Male genital development occurs during fetal development when also the brain is developing rapidly. Genital development is dependent on androgen effect, and androgens also have impact on gender development. We here explore whether hypospadias are associated with variation in other aspects of sex typical development.
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether hypospadias is associated with differences in performance on cognitive tests and/or self rated gender role behaviour.
Participants: Eighty-six men with hypospadias participating in a medical follow up study were compared to male and female controls from the general population.
Procedure: Cognitive tasks previously shown to yield group level sex differences and questions regarding self reported retrospective gender role behaviour in childhood were administered either at an outpatient clinic visit or via online participation.
Results: The cognitive performance of men and women in the control groups differed significantly in the expected directions. Men and women also differed on gender role behaviour in childhood. There were no significant differences between men with and without hypospadias on any of the measures. Men with proximal hypospadias performed slightly lower on many of cognitive tasks.
Conclusion: Hypospadias in general, is not associated with differences in performance on cognitive tests that typically yield sex differences or with altered gender role behaviour in childhood. Further studies are needed in boys and men with proximal hypospadias.
27 - 29 Sep 2018
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology