Sitting in high school biology, listening to the teacher drone on about genetics, I snapped to attention when she used male pattern baldness as an example of a dominant trait. My heart started pounding with fear - with bald men on both sides of my mother's family as far as the eye could see, I was doomed to have a chrome dome.
I remained anguished about the prospect of being bald for the next 20 years as my hairline retreated and my hair steadily thinned. Bald men seemed disfigured to me. I felt...
The cause of chordee is unknown. During development in the womb, more elastic tissue may develop on the top half of the penis than on the bottom half. This can cause the penis to curve during erections.
Other developmental problems that can lead to chordee include:
Skin tethering, usually on the underside of the penis, making a straight erection impossible
Abnormal development of scar tissue in or around the urethra (urinary tube)
Often in chordee, the urinary opening also does not develop properly. Instead of the tip of the penis, the urinary opening may be on the underside of the penis (hypospadias).
Some doctors may use the term chordee for any downward curvature of the penis, including those not due to a problem with development. Most often, these forms of chordee occur in adulthood after surgery to correct some other problem with the penis.
Chordee may not be noticeable except during erections. That's especially the case in boys or men without hypospadias.
When hypospadias is not present, chordee may more easily go undetected until late childhood or adulthood.
Hypospadias often causes difficulty for a man or boy in controlling his urine stream. When significant hypospadias is present, he may need to sit down to urinate. Hypospadias also often results in abnormal ejaculation.
In adolescence and adulthood, chordee may cause pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse, for a man and his partner. Erections may not be of sufficient quality for sex in some men with chordee.
Surgery is the only effective treatment for chordee. The ideal time for chordee repair is before age 2. If chordee is detected prior to this time, surgery can usually repair chordee (and hypospadias, if present). The surgery will make possible the normal growth and development of the penis.
It can be done as outpatient surgery. After the surgery, a dressing will be wrapped around the penis to decrease swelling. The surgeon may ask that the child use a catheter instead of urinating for the first seven days after surgery.