Urethral Stricture

Urethral Stricture

Urethral stricture refers to the narrowing of the urethra, which is the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. It is a medical condition that can affect both men and women, although it is more common in men.

Urethral strictures can have various causes, including:

Scarring: The most common cause of urethral stricture is scarring due to inflammation or trauma. In men, this scarring is often a result of untreated or recurrent urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted infections (such as gonorrhea or chlamydia), or previous urethral procedures or surgeries. In women, scarring may occur due to childbirth trauma, pelvic surgery, or radiation therapy.

Injury or trauma: Any injury or trauma to the urethra, such as a pelvic fracture or straddle injury, can lead to the development of a stricture.

Congenital abnormalities: Some individuals are born with a narrower urethra, which can predispose them to develop strictures later in life.

The symptoms of urethral stricture can vary depending on the severity of the narrowing. Common symptoms include:
1. Decreased urine flow or weak urine stream
2. Difficulty starting urination
3. Frequent urination
4. Urinary urgency (sudden and strong urge to urinate)
5. Urinary retention (inability to completely empty the bladder)
6. Spraying or splitting of the urine stream
7. Pain or discomfort during urination
8. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Diagnosis and Treatment:
Diagnosing a urethral stricture typically involves a combination of medical history evaluation, physical examination, and diagnostic tests. These tests may include:
Urethrography: A special X-ray procedure that involves injecting a contrast dye into the urethra to visualize any narrowing or blockages.

Uroflowmetry: Measures the speed and volume of urine flow.

Cystoscopy: A procedure in which a thin tube with a camera is inserted into the urethra to directly visualize the stricture.

Treatment options for urethral stricture depend on the severity and location of the stricture. Mild strictures may be managed with watchful waiting and lifestyle modifications, such as drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding irritants. However, more significant strictures may require medical intervention, which can include:

Dilation: The stricture is stretched using progressively larger dilators to widen the urethra.

Urethrotomy: A surgical procedure in which the stricture is cut or incised using a special knife or laser.

Urethroplasty: A more extensive surgical procedure that involves removing the narrowed segment of the urethra and reconstructing it using healthy tissue.

The choice of treatment depends on various factors, including the length and location of the stricture, the overall health of the patient, and the preference of the healthcare provider.

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional if you suspect you may have a urethral stricture or are experiencing any related symptoms. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend the most appropriate treatment options for your specific situation.