Cloacal or bladder exstrophy

Exstrophy is a Greek word and means ‘turned inside out’. In cloacal or bladder exstrophy, the bladder is turned ‘inside out’ and on the outside of the body. Many boys and girls with CBE have surgeries to place the bladder back on the inside, so it’s protected. After surgery, some boys with CBE use a catheter to urinate.

If you have CBE and are a guy, your testes are making high levels of testosterone (T) and your body can react to T, so you will experience similar puberty changes as guys without CBE.

In the Puberty:Outside section, we show a range of body responses to T. When you go back, check out what happens when you are mostly able to react to T. Some changes from T may also have happened before you were born.

Some guys with CBE may have a penis on the smaller side; in others the penis may be larger. It depends on how your body reacted to T before you were born and on a lot of other complex parts of how your body developed. Perhaps doctors gave you extra T when you were a child, to help your penis grow larger. In some boys this may have helped growth of the penis, and on the other hand, there might not have been much. It’s like that in puberty—some penises and genital areas grow more; some grow less. Whether there will be more or less penis growth depends mainly on how your body can react to T, as well as how your body was formed. If you want to know more your care options, sex & relationships, check out Let’s talk about Sex and In Your Care.