A urethral stricture is an abnormal narrowing of the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder. When this occurs, urinary tract infections, inflammation, abdominal pain, blood in the urine, painful urination or stones can result. Urethral strictures are more common in men due to the length of the urethra, making it more susceptible to disease or injury.
A urethra stricture can also block urine completely. When this occurs (usually from trauma such as pelvic fractures) patients are unable to urinate and require a catheter until the stricture can be repaired.
Common causes of urethral strictures include:
- Catheterization or other instrumentation
- Scar tissue from prior surgery, injury or disease
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Straddle injuries
- Trauma to the penis
- Often times the cause for the stricture is unknown
In evaluating your condition, your doctor may perform the following:
- Medical history and physical exam
- Urinalysis to test your urine for blood, signs of infection or cancer
- Urinary flow test
- Cystoscopy to look inside the urethra for a narrowing
- Retrograde urethrogram to evaluate the number, position, length and severity of the stricture(s)