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Bladder exstrophy

  • Overview


    Bladder exstrophy is a rare congenital disability where the bladder develops outside the fetus. Due to this, the exposed bladder cannot function properly, and urine leakage (incontinence) occurs.

    The severity of the problems caused by bladder exstrophy can vary. It can lead to defects in the bladder, genitals, pelvic bones, intestines, and reproductive organs.

    Bladder exstrophy can be detected during pregnancy through a routine ultrasound. However, there are times when the defect is only visible after the baby is born. Surgery is necessary to correct the deficiencies in babies born with bladder exstrophy.

  • Symptoms


    The most frequent congenital disability in the bladder exstrophy-epispadias complex (BEEC), a broader collection of congenital disabilities, is bladder exstrophy. One of the following applies to kids with BEEC:
    Epispadias. The urethra, the tube used to release pee, does not fully grow in this variant of BEEC, which is the least severe.
    Bladder dysfunction. The bladder develops on the outside of the body due to this abnormality. Additionally, the bladder is turned inside and out. Organs of the digestive, reproductive, and urinary tracts are frequently affected by bladder exstrophy. There can be issues with the abdominal wall, the bladder, the genitalia, the pelvic bones, the large intestine’s last segment (the rectum), and the hole at the end of the rectum (the anus).
    Children diagnosed with bladder exstrophy typically experience additional conditions, such as vesicoureteral reflux. This can cause urine to flow in the wrong direction and back into the tubes connecting to the kidneys (ureters). Epispadias is another common condition that children with bladder exstrophy may also experience.
    Cloacal exstrophy is the most severe form of BEEC. It occurs when the fetus’s rectum, bladder, and genitals fail to separate during development. The pelvic bones are also affected, and the organs may not form correctly. The kidneys, backbone, and spinal cord may also be affected. Children born with protruding abdominal organs likely have either cloacal or bladder exstrophy. Most children with cloacal exstrophy have spinal abnormalities, including spina bifida.

  • When to see a doctor


    Bladder exstrophy is a rare congenital condition where the bladder is exposed outside the body. While it can be detected during prenatal ultrasound, it is important to seek medical attention if your child is born with a bulging mass in the lower abdomen or an exposed bladder. A doctor should be consulted if there are any signs of urinary tract infection, difficulty urinating, or urine leakage. Bladder exstrophy can cause serious complications such as kidney damage or bladder cancer if left untreated. It is important to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment to manage the condition and prevent long-term health problems.

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  • Causes


    The cause of bladder exstrophy is currently unknown, but it is believed that a combination of genetic and environmental factors may contribute to its development. During fetal growth, babies with bladder exstrophy often have a cloaca (a structure where reproductive, urinary, and digestive openings converge) that does not develop correctly. The extent of the defects in the cloaca can differ depending on when the developmental error occurs during fetal development.

  • Risk factors


    Certain factors can increase the likelihood of a child having bladder exstrophy. These include:

    Family history: If a parent or sibling has bladder exstrophy or the child is the firstborn, there is a greater chance of being born with the condition.

    Race: Bladder exstrophy is more frequently found in individuals of white ethnicity than other races.

    Sex: Bladder exstrophy is more common in male than female children.

    Use of assisted reproduction: Children born via assisted reproductive technology, such as IVF, have a higher risk of developing bladder exstrophy.

  • Prevention


    Bladder exstrophy is a rare congenital condition characterized by the malformation of the urinary bladder and associated structures. While the exact cause of this disorder is not known, there are certain factors that may increase the risk of developing bladder exstrophy, including a family history of the condition, a history of urinary tract infections, and exposure to certain medications during pregnancy. To prevent bladder exstrophy, it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle during pregnancy, avoid exposure to harmful substances, and receive regular prenatal care. Additionally, genetic counseling may be recommended for families with a history of this disorder. Early diagnosis and treatment of bladder exstrophy can significantly improve outcomes and quality of life.

  • *Please note that the information provided in the article is for reference purposes only. It is essential to consult a doctor before applying any of the suggestions mentioned.

Content Details

Medical info from Mayo Clinic, for reference only. Visit Hoan My for better advice.

Last updated on: 07/08/2023