Children's Hospital Colorado

Cloacal Exstrophy

What is cloacal exstrophy?

Cloacal exstrophy is a rare birth defect that affects approximately 1 in every 200,000 to 400,000 births. Babies with the condition are born with a single common channel connecting the rectum, vagina and urinary tract. Part of the large intestine usually develops outside of the abdominal cavity, with the bladder connected to it on either side, in halves. Because the colon is connected to the bladder, urine and stool can mix and there is often no anus. The penis and clitoris are usually split in two and girls may have more than one vaginal opening. Infants born with cloacal exstrophy can also have spinal abnormalities.

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What causes cloacal exstrophy?

Cloacal exstrophy occurs as an isolated event without a recognized cause. There is a higher incidence of cloacal exstrophy in families in which one member is affected as compared with the general population. However, there's no evidence to suggest that anything done by expectant parents leads to the condition.

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Traci Nivens, MD

Traci Nivens, MD

Ob/Gyn Obstetrics & Gynecology

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Nicholas Behrendt, MD

Nicholas Behrendt, MD

Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Ob/Gyn Obstetrics & Gynecology

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Allison Dempsey, PhD

Allison Dempsey, PhD

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Michael Zaretsky, MD

Michael Zaretsky, MD

Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Ob/Gyn Obstetrics & Gynecology

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