Stenosis of the urethra… What is it exactly?
Urethral stenosis or stricture is a narrowing of your urinary canal (the urethra) through which your urine flows. It is a scar inside or around your urethra that can decrease your urine flow. Imagine a narrowing or an elbow in a garden hose that would slow the flow of water. A stenosis restricts the flow of urine from the bladder and can cause a variety of medical problems in the urinary tract, including inflammation or infection.
It can occur anywhere along your urethra, from the bladder to its opening. The most common cause of stenosis is trauma to the urethra. A fall or a vehicle accident can cause a pelvic fracture with tearing of the posterior urethra and sometimes the appearance of a stenosis at the time of healing. An astride injury, such as falling on the bar of a bicycle, can crush the anterior urethra and cause stenosis. This condition can also occur following an injury during the installation of a drainage tube (catheter), after surgery performed through the urethra, radical prostatectomy or radiotherapy/brachytherapy. Sometimes urethral strictures can be caused by infections.
When urethral stricture is suspected
When urethral stricture is suspected, your doctor may recommend tests to clarify the diagnosis. It could be urine tests for blood or infection. He could do a urine flow and volume test (flow measurement). Several imaging tests can be used to identify the location, length, and severity of the urethral stricture. An x-ray of the urethra can be obtained using an injection of contrast material into the duct (urethrography) to clearly visualize the stenosis. A urethral ultrasound can also help assess the amount of scar tissue. A urethroscopy is a procedure where the doctor gently inserts a thin, lubricated "endoscope" inside the urethra to see the stenosis.
How we treat it
There are different options for treating urethral stricture, depending on the length and location of the stricture, and the amount of scar tissue associated with it. They can often be treated by your doctor with minor surgery. Options include enlarging the urethra by gradual stretching (dilation), removing the stenosis with an endoscope (internal urethrotomy), and surgically removing the stenosis with reconstruction of the urethra (urethroplasty).
As a rule, surgical procedures are carried out without complications and are not accompanied by urinary incontinence or impotence. In rare cases, the operation must be repeated.
Take the time to visit each of our pages on this website, as well as our YouTube channel, in order to get familiar with the disease with our expert lectures, our section on available resources, the support that is offered to you.
Do you have any questions or concerns? Above all, do not hesitate. Contact us at 1 855 899-2873 to discuss with a nurse specializing in uro-oncology. It's simple and free, like all our services.
Sources and references
Extract from the sheet Urethral strictures in men from the Canadian Urology Association
Written by PROCURE. © All rights reserved - 2019