The human body has a thin tube named Urethra that carries the urine out of the body from the bladder. In certain cases, this tube gets blocked due to the narrowing of the scar tissues. This obstructs the flow of the urine causing various other complications. The medical condition where scar tissue growth narrows the urethra is known as Urethral Stricture. Some of the common problems associated with Urethral Stricture include the backflow of the urine to the bladder as well as obstruction in urinating. Both conditions are complex and may lead to kidney failure.
What are the common causes of urethral stricture?
The manipulation of the urethra is one of the common reasons for the urethral stricture problem. The complication of the urethra can be a result of prostate brachytherapy, prostatectomy, damage caused by a urethral catheter, or a corrective measure taken for hypospadias.
However, there are certain inflammatory conditions as well that can cause urethral strictures. Such conditions include untreated sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or a medical condition named balanitis xerotica obliterans.
Common symptoms of urethral stricture
Some of the common symptoms of the condition include:
- Reoccurring Urinary tract infections
- Increase in urine frequency
- Bladder control loss
- Painful urination
- Swelling in the genitals
- Long urinating duration
- Urgency to urinate
- Feeling full bladder after urinating
Urethral stricture in men and women
Usually, the urethral stricture is a problem experienced by males than females. However, both males and females can have a urethral stricture. Posterior urethral stricture and anterior urethral stricture are two types of urethral stricture found in men. In females, the chances of urethral stricture are limited to 2.7-8 percent only.
How is urethral stricture diagnosed?
When you approach your medical care provider, they will analyse your medical history and read the symptoms to get an idea of the condition. A physical exam will be conducted, which will help the doctors to suggest further diagnostic tests. Some diagnosis tools and tests used for identifying urethral stricture include:
- Retrograde urethrogram
- Imaging studies such as MRI scans, CT scans, and ultrasounds
Treatment for urethral stricture
Again a range of characteristics defines what would be the best treatment for urethral stricture. He doctor would check the cause of the condition, its symptoms, occurrence, and many other aspects. Some of the commonly recommended treatments for urethral stricture include dilation, urethrectomy, and open surgical removal.
- Dilation: In this procedure, the doctor inserts a special device in the urethra, which works against the narrowing and gradually increases the stricture. It is a minimally invasive method and usually the initial phase of the treatment.
- Urethrectomy: A special urethroscope is used for guidance, and the stricture is cut off manually using a laser beam.
- Open surgical removal: Expert doctors surgically remove the stricture. It is an invasive method but shows a great success rate.