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- Patient Comments: Urethral Stricture - Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Urethral Stricture - Diagnosis
- Patient Comments: Urethral Stricture - Treatment
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- Urethral stricture facts
- What is the urethra?
- What is a urethral stricture?
- What are the risk factors and causes of urethral strictures?
- What are the symptoms and signs of a urethral stricture?
- What type of doctor treats urethral obstruction?
- How do physicians diagnose urethral strictures?
- Are there any special tests for diagnosing urethral strictures?
- What is the treatment for urethral strictures?
- What surgical options are available for urethral strictures?
- How are urethral strictures followed after repair?
- What is the recovery period after surgery to repair a urethral stricture?
- Is it possible to prevent a urethral stricture?
- What is the prognosis for urethral stricture?
What is a urethral stricture?
Urethral stricture refers to any narrowing of the urethra for any reason whether or not it actually impacts the flow of urine out of the bladder.
Urethral stricture is significantly more common in men and boys compared to women and girls. This condition is considered rare in females.
What are the risk factors and causes of urethral strictures?
Any inflammation of urethra can result in scarring, which then can lead to a stricture or a narrowing of the urethra. Trauma, infection, tumors, surgeries, or any other cause of scarring may lead to urethral narrowing or stricture. Mechanical narrowing of the urethra without scar formation (developmental causes or prostate enlargement) can also narrow the urethra.
The following are common causes of scarring or narrowing of the urethra:
- Trauma from injury or accidents with damage to the urethra or bladder (for example, falling on a frame of a bicycle between the legs, or a car accident), straddle injuries
- Pelvic injury (fracture of the pelvic bones) or trauma
- Previous procedures involving the urethra (urinary catheters, surgeries, cystoscopy)
- Previous prostate surgery (TURP or transurethral resection of the prostate for prostate enlargement, radical prostatectomy for prostate cancer)
- Prostate enlargement
- Cancer of the urethra (rare)
- Infections of the urethra (sexually transmitted diseases or STDs, urethritis, gonorrhea, chlamydia)
- Prostate infection or inflammation (prostatitis)
- Previous hypospadias surgery (a congenital birth defect in which the opening of the urethra is on the underside of the penis instead of the tip)
- Congenital malformations of the urethra, which rarely can cause urethral stricture in children
- Brachytherapy (placement of radiation seeds into the prostate) for prostate cancer
- Diaper-related irritation to the urethral meatus (opening at the tip of the penis)
- Inflammatory conditions such as lichen sclerosus, Reiter's syndrome
According to one study, about one-half of causes of urethral stricture are from medical procedures and manipulation of the urethra or nearby structures (surgeries, catheter insertion, etc.). In about one-third of cases, no identifiable cause was found.