A urethral stricture is internal scarring that affects the flow of urine through the urethra.When scarring within the urethra builds up enough over time, it can narrow the opening and make urination much more difficult. This is called a urethral stricture, and it can lead to a slew of other problems in your urinary tract if left untreated.
Causes of Urethral Stricture
A urethral stricture is typically the result of injury, which can occur during a medical procedure (as with the use of an endoscope) or otherwise. Additional causes include:
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Radiation therapy
Men are more likely to develop a urethral stricture than women. Possible causes that are exclusive to men include:
- Enlarged prostate
- Prostate gland surgery
- Injury to the penis or scrotum
Symptoms of Urethral Stricture
Most signs and symptoms of a urethral stricture are universal for men and women, as it primarily weakens the urinary system. These symptoms include:
- Weakened urine stream
- Spraying urine stream
- Difficulty urinating, which may be due to pain or the increased effort required to empty the bladder
- Incomplete emptying of the bladder
- Increased urge to urinate
- Urinary tract infection
Some patients may even be rendered completely unable to urinate, which requires immediate medical attention. And men can experience additional symptoms, such as prostatitis.
Diagnosing Urethral Stricture
While the effects of a weakened urinary system are often readily apparent, identifying a urethral stricture is more difficult. A doctor will likely recommend testing to find it and determine the best way to treat it.
Testing methods include:
- Retrograde urethrogram
Treating Urethral Strictures
Urethral strictures are treatable and do not always recur in patients. The urologic specialists at Tampa General Hospital can provide you with the best care while using the most advanced robotic technology for minimally invasive procedures.
Typical treatment options for men and women include:
- Dilation of the urethral opening
- Urethrotomy to remove the scarring or enlarge the urethral opening
- Urethroplasty to reconstruct the urethra