Education & Diagnosis
A urethral stricture is scarring in or around the urethra that narrows or blocks the passageway through which urine flows from the bladder. It may be caused by inflammation, infection, injury, or rarely, from an enlarging tumor near the urethra, and is much more common in men. In addition to uncomfortable urinary symptoms such as reduced flow rate and frequent urination, a urethral stricture can lead to complications that include urinary tract infections, prostatitis, and kidney damage.
Testing & Treatment
Your doctor may recommend a number of tests to determine the cause, location and length of the urethral stricture, including:
- Urinalysis — looks for signs of infection, blood or cancer in your urine.
- Urinary flow test — measures the strength and amount of urine flow.
- Pelvic ultrasound — looks for the presence of urine in your bladder after urination.
- Retrograde urethrogram — uses X-ray images to check for a structural problem or injury of the urethra.
- Cystoscopy — examines your urethra and bladder using a thin, tube-like device fitted with a lens (cystoscope) to view these organs.
Treatment options at South Mississippi Urology include:
- Catheterization – the insertion of a catheter into the bladder to drain urine and relieve pain.
- Urethroplasty - the surgical removal or enlargement of the narrowed section of your urethra. The recurrence of strictures after urethroplasty is low.
- Endoscopic internal urethrotomy – this procedure involves the insertion of instruments through a cystoscope into the urethra to remove the stricture or vaporize it with a laser. This surgical procedure offers quicker recovery time, minimal scarring and less risk of infection.
- Dilation – this outpatient procedure involves the insertion of a tiny wire through the urethra and into the bladder. Progressively larger dilators pass over the wire to gradually increase the size of the opening.
- Permanent catheter. If you have a severe stricture and choose not to have surgery, you may opt for a permanent catheter to drain the bladder. This option comes with great side effects and requires constant monitoring.