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DefinitionUrethral stricture is an abnormal narrowing of the urethra (the tube that releases urine from the body).
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Urethral stricture may be caused by inflammation or scar tissue from surgery, disease, or injury. It may also be caused by external pressure from an enlarging tumor near the urethra, although this is rare.
Increased risk is associated with men who have a history of sexually transmitted disease (STD), repeated episodes of urethritis , or benign prostatic hyperplasia ( BPH ). There is also increased risk of urethral stricture after an injury or trauma to the pelvic region. Any instrumentation entering the urethra (such as catheterization or cystoscopy) increases the chance of developing urethral strictures.
Signs and tests
A physical examination may reveal the following:
Sometimes the exam reveals no abnormalities.
Tests include the following:
Placement of a suprapubic catheter , which allows the bladder to drain through the abdomen, may be necessary to alleviate acute problems such as urinary retention.
Dilation of the urethra may be attempted by inserting a sound (a thin instrument used to stretch the urethra) under local anesthesia. If urethral dilation is not possible, surgery may be necessary to correct the condition. Surgical options vary depending on the location and the length of the stricture.
Cystoscopic visual urethrotomy may be all that is needed for small stricure. A urethral stent for cystoscopic insertion may also be used.
An open urethroplasty may be performed for longer stricture by removing the diseased portion and/or replacing it with other tissue. The results vary depending on the size and location of urethroplasty, the number of prior therapies, and the experience of the surgeon.
There are no drug treatments currently available for this disease. If all else fails, a urinary diversion -- appendicovesicostomy (Mitrofanoff procedure) may be performed to allow patient to perform self-catherization of the bladder through the abdominal wall.
Treatment usually results in an excellent outcome. However, there is a high recurrence rate for strictures.
Urethral stricture may totally block urine flow, causing acute urinary retention, a condition that must be alleviated quickly.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if symptoms of urethral stricture occur.
Practicing safer sex behaviors may decrease the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and subsequent urethral stricture.
Update Date: 5/25/2002Young Kang, M.D., Department of Urology, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT