Bladder Exstrophy occurs in about 1 in 40,000 births. It is a complex condition that affects the urinary, reproductive and intestinal tracts, and the musculoskeletal system. This condition presents at birth with the bladder being born outside of the baby’s body. During the baby’s development in the womb, the abdominal wall does not close properly and this results in the bladder being inside out and exposed.
Bladder Exstrophy can cause a variety of issues and complications. Frequently babies with this condition are born with atypical genitalia and weakened abdominal muscles. They may experience incontinence, need catheterization, and multiple reconstructive surgeries. Bladder Exstrophy requires lifelong follow-up medical care.
Cloacal Exstophy is less common than Bladder Exstrophy. This complex condition occurs when an infant is born with the bladder and the large intestine on the outside of the body. Baby boys are often born with a flat penis with the urinary opening (urethra) on top (Epispadias). At times the penis can be split into two halves, lengthwise (left and right). Baby girls are often born with their clitoris split in half lengthwise and may have two vaginal openings. Those with Colacoal Exstrophy will experience many of the same complications of those with Bladder Exstrophy, with the additional issue of fecal incontinence. This condition requires lifelong follow-up medical care.
Cloacal Anomaly is a complex condition that occurs in girls where the urinary tract, vagina, and rectum come together to form a single common channel with one opening. It is this common channel that is referred to as a cloaca. This condition is primarily diagnosed at birth and occurs in about 1 in 20,000 births. Initially, surgeons and urologists work to relieve blockages that may be in the urinary and intestinal tract with the long-term goal of restoring anatomy and function.