The urethra is a duct that transmits urine from the bladder and the external part of the body, which allows urine to be excreted from the body. There is a sphincter at the upper end of the urethra, which serves to close the passage and keep the urine inside the bladder. Female’s urethra differs to male’s in some factors it includes the following:

  • Length: The length of the urethra is much shorter in women than in men, due to the anatomical gender differences in the area. In males, it extends approximately 20 cm as it must traverse the length of the penis, whereas it is only 4 cm in length in females

  • Purpose: The urethra serves a double purpose in men as it also serves as a passage for semen during an ejaculation when partaking in sexual activities.

In some circumstances, the urethra may be affected by certain factors that cause abnormalities in the area. Complications that involve the urethra that may occur include urethral stricture. 

What is Urethral Stricture?

Urethral stricture refers to chronic fibrosis and the narrowing of the lumen of the urethra. 

The flow of urine may or may not be affected depending on the severity of the stricture, cause urine to back up in the urinary tract. This can lead to kidney damage.

What causes it?

Urethral manipulation is considered as one of the most common causes of urethral strictures, here are some samples of manipulation:

  1. History of prostate brachytherapy, a type of cancer treatment
  2. History of prostatectomy
  3. Damage from an indwelling urethral catheter
  4. Correction of hypospadias

Symptoms & Possible Complications :

  • Difficulty starting urine flow (hesitancy)
  • Painful urination (dysuria)
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Urinary retention
  • Incomplete emptying of bladder
  • Decreased urinary stream
  • Dribbling of urine
  • Spraying or double streaming urine
  • Blood in the urine (bloody or dark-appearing urine) known as hematuria
  • Blood in the semen (hematospermia)
  • Urinary incontinence (loss of bladder control)
  • Pelvic pain
  • Discharge from the urethra
  • Reduced ejaculation force
  • Stones in bladder
  • Straining to urinate
  • Safe sex

“ I am experiencing these symptoms but I am not sure, how can I be diagnosed?”  We heard from you, here are some of the tests that the doctor may suggest; Ultrasound of the urethra, Retrograde urethrogram, Cystography, filling, and voiding (VCUG), Antegrade cystourethrogram, Cystourethroscopy, MRI and CT scan.

If you are concerned about the treatment, we are sad to say that it’s irreversible, once a stricture has developed, it will not go away. The role of medications in the management of primary urethral strictures is limited. Surgery is the recommended treatment for individuals with symptomatic urethral strictures. Always consult your doctor if you think you have urethral stricture to prevent any further complication.



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