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Urethral stricture: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About urethral stricture

A urethral stricture is a narrowing of the urethra - the tube that carries the urine out of the body from the bladder (urethra), caused by injury or disease such as urinary tract infections.

Urethral stricture: Incidence, age and sex

The incidence can only be estimated and is different in different parts of the world. In the US, it is 0.6% in males and is commonest between 10 and 35 years of age. Strictures that are present at birth (congenital) are rare. Strictures in women are rarer still.

Signs & symptoms of urethral stricture: Diagnosis

The first symptoms are usually straining to void and poor urinary stream. As the stream becomes narrower micturition is prolonged and is followed by dribbling as a result of urine trickling from the dilated urethra proximal to the stricture. Urinary frequency by day and night is also common and is due to incomplete bladder emptying, infection or both.

Causes and prevention of urethral stricture

The cause of urethral strictures are usually inflammation or scar tissue from surgery, disease, or injury. It may also be caused by pressure from an enlarging tumour.

Urethral stricture: Complications

Complications include retention of urine, urethral diverticulum, periurethral abscess, urethral fistula, hernia, haemorrhoids and rectal prolapse caused by abdominal straining to void urine.

Urethral stricture: Treatment

Urethroscopy allows the stricture to be viewed as a circumferential scar.Treatment of urethral stricture is by dilation by devices, urethrotomy or urethroplasty.

Urethral dilation for stricture is liable to cause additional urethral damage if performed inexpertly. Operative treatment -internal urethrotomy is performed using the optical urethrotome.