Strictly speaking, a urethral stricture occurs when the urethra narrows, caused by disease or an injury; the urethra being the bodily tube that joins the urinary bladder to a person’s genitals – the draining system for urine to exit the body. Problems may be experienced by the sufferer when attempting to urinate – pain and an inability to empty the bladder being two significant symptoms. Sufferers of urethral stricture may have attained the condition through a trauma injury to the body or contracted an STD that lead to the stricture occurring.
As healing of the problem area occurs, the natural build up of scar tissue can lead to the narrowing of the urethra, resulting in the common symptoms associated with this condition. Urethral stricture can be a very serious complication and may need emergency surgery in some cases in order to prevent ongoing associated health issues. In a few cases the stricture may be caused by congenital factors and may only appear in adulthood; it should be pointed out too that urethral strictures more commonly appear in males owing to a longer urethra length.
There are a number of treatment options for urethral stricture and a medical professional should always be consulted in a timely fashion if the condition is suspected. Untreated, urethral strictures can lead to a marked decrease in the ability to urinate, to the point of complete ceasing of the urinary function altogether. Prostate and bladder infections are possible too – in cases where the bladder is affected, a pronounced enlargement of the bladder size may result from the stricture. Testing for gonorrhea is advised, this particular STD is known to cause urethral strictures and should be treated with medications.
For sufferers requiring surgery, the urethra can be widened under local anesthetic; the insertion of a thin instrument, usually some type of catheter, in to the urethra can help in opening up the tube to a sufficient diameter. More serious cases of urethral stricture may need to be treated with complex surgical procedures – endoscopic surgery may be employed with the use of a laser or internal knife. However for the most serious cases of this condition, full internal surgery may be required so that the stricture can be completely removed from the body, with some graft work possibly needed. Alternatively, permanent catheters or stents can be utilized for sufferers who prefer not to be operated on.
Wikipedia, the University of Maryland and a recognised MD were consulted for the writing of this article.