The urethra is the tube that transfers urine out of the body. A urethral stricture is when the urethra narrows due to scarring, restricting urine flow, and causing pain. This condition primarily affects men because of their longer urethra. If left untreated, it can lead to various medical problems, such as urinary tract infections and kidney damage.
What are the causes of urethral stricture?
The constriction of the urethra is usually caused by tissue inflammation or the presence of scar tissue. A straddle injury is a common trauma to that can lead to urethral stricture and examples include falling onto a bicycle bar or getting hit in the area close to the scrotum. Men with penile implants, and young boys who have had hypospadias surgery to address an underdeveloped urethra, have a higher chance of developing urethral stricture.
Other common causes of urethral stricture include:
- Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
- Pelvic fractures
- Catheter insertion
- Surgery performed on the prostate
Less common causes include:
- A tumor located close to the urethra
- Gonorrhea or chlamydia (sexually transmitted diseases)
- Untreated or repetitive urinary tract infection
What are the symptoms of urethral stricture?
Urethral strictures can cause numerous symptoms, ranging from mild to severe. Some of the signs are:
- Weak urine flow, or a decrease in volume of urine
- Frequent, sudden urges to urinate
- Frequent starting and stopping of urinary stream
- A feeling of incomplete bladder emptying after urination
- Burning or pain during urination
- Penile swelling and pain
- Pain in the pelvic area or lower abdominal area
- Darkening of the urine
- Blood in the semen or urine
- Urethral discharge
- Inability to urinate (this is very serious and you should seek immediate medical attention)
How is a urethral stricture diagnosed?
During your consultation, our urologist will review your medical history, perform a physical examination, and order urethral imaging tests, such as X-rays or ultrasound. They may take a sample of your urine to test it for bacteria or other infections.
The doctor may perform a urethroscopy, which involves inserting a small, flexible camera into the urethra and elevating it to the stricture to see inside the urethra. They may also perform an X-ray procedure called retrograde urethrogram that involves inserting a fluid into thurethra to locate and measure the stricture.
How is a urethral stricture treated?
Treatment options for urethral strictures include:
- Catheterization. This option is suitable for a short stricture and involves inserting a tiny tube (catheter) into your bladder to drain urine.
- Urethral dilation. This procedure is an option for recurrent urethral strictures. It is performed under local anesthesia and involves inserting a wire into the bladder through the urethra. Dilators of increasing size pass across the wire, gradually expanding the urethral hole.
- Endoscopic urethrotomy. In an endoscopic urethrotomy, a device called a cystoscope is inserted into your urethra, and other devices are inserted through the cystoscope to remove the stricture with a laser.
- Urethroplasty. During this procedure, the surgeon surgically removes or expands the narrowed part of your urethra. They may also reconstruct the surrounding tissues by using tissues from other parts of your body.
Book your appointment at Novomed today!
If you have symptoms of urethral stricture, make an appointment today with one of our expert urologists in Dubai, Abu Dhabi or Al Ain by calling toll-free 8006686 or clicking the live chat icon at the bottom of the screen.