There is nothing comical about this rare disorder that has only occurred in 100 cases since first discovered by Johannes Jacob Wecker in 1609. Only one in 5.5 million men have a chance of being born with this disorder. Penile agenesis, the absence of a penis, only occurs in 30 million men. Even more rare is scrotum agenesis.
When penile replication is evident, so are other body part replications (so the news gets worse!). A man with Diphallia will also likely (a 69% chance) have two bladders, two livers and anuses. The risk of being born with spina bifida is very high (68% states this site). Infections from having two anuses and livers cause mortality rates to be quite high.
Though little is known about Diphallia, it is thought that this disorder occurs in the 23rd to 25th day of gestation, when an injury, chemical stress, or malfunctioning gene hampers the penis to form correctly.
Two penises, usually one smaller than the other, typically lay side by side. In some cases, both penises will be on top of the other. Both penises function normally-becoming erect, urinating independently and/or simultaneously, and ejaculating at will. Sometimes urine will flow out another orifice. However, it is not possible to penetrate two different women with both penises at the same time.
Men with two penises will often be sterile. For reasons that can’t be understood, some people opt for elective surgery to bisect their one penis into two. This “disorder” is not related to this case. That disorder is obviously not hereditary, and many males born from fathers with two penises have normal genitalia.
To see pictures of Diphallia, click here and here.
Treatment for this rare anomaly is obviously cutting off the smaller of the two penises. Rerouting any extra organs or removing unnecessary ones is also the norm. The worse thing to do is not have the surgery performed. The possibility that twice the hormones from a dual scrotom or testicle pair will be released into the man’s body, as well as the aforementioned higher risk of infections from having two bladders, urethras, or penises. Only 15 cases of removing the second penis has been recorded.
Diagnosing this phallic disorder prenatally is nearly impossible despite the uneducated layman thinking otherwise. Two out of nine babies die soon after birth due to this disorder. Lower limb defects are sometime possible. Most of the time, when adouble phallis is detected en utero, the baby was aborted (despite favorable outcomes post-surgery). Most of the babies born in the US with this disorder were born in Iowa.
Sadly, cysts and tumors can also be found on babies with Diphallia in many cases. In 20% of the case, says this source, there was an increased chance of umbilical chord deformities, breech presentations, growth retardation (small baby), and an anus that wasn’t perforated. None of these situations were detected before birth.
Prenatal history of the mother indicated the following:
*Diabetes Type 2
*Multiple uterine fibroids
Age doesn’t seem to be a factor, as thus far the recorded maternal age is 17-35. Also, chromosomal analysis of the parents indicated everything was normal in that respect. In 15% of cases, says the same study, the twin was born normally. It is believed that there have been more cases out there that have misdiagnosed.
As more research was done for this article, the more melancholy and sad I became. It is so unfortunate that these disorders occur, that abortion is opted instead of surgery, and that the causal link is drug abuse and poor maternal health care–which is avoidable.