A urethral stricture is when there is a narrowing of the tube that empties urine from your bladder. The narrowing is usually caused by the buildup of scar tissue. This might happen after you've had radiation treatments, a catheter, or an infection. Treatment may not be necessary if the stricture doesn't block urine flow or cause any symptoms. Here are symptoms associated with a urethral stricture and treatments you may need.
Symptoms You Might Have With A Urethral Stricture
If you can't empty your bladder fully due to the stricture, you might have to urinate more often and struggle to pass your urine. You might also develop an infection in your urinary tract. You could even have pain when you urinate. Consult your doctor when you have symptoms such as these so they can diagnose your problem and determine if you have a stricture or other urinary tract disorder.
Tests That Help Your Doctor Diagnose Your Condition
Your doctor may need to use a scope to see inside your urethra and bladder. They may also use an ultrasound machine to see your urinary tract so they can pinpoint abnormalities. In addition, they may run urine tests to look for bacteria or blood in your urine.
Treatments That Might Help Your Urethral Stricture
Medication Might be prescribed to treat a urinary tract infection or STD if you have one. Your doctor may run a urinalysis first to determine if bacteria is present and what type it is so they can choose the best antibiotic to prescribe.
Inserting a catheter is another possible treatment. The catheter widens the tube and provides a passage for urine so you can empty your bladder when you have the urge to urinate.
You might be given catheters to use yourself at home according to your doctor's directions. Your doctor might even consider a permanent catheter, but these carry a risk of recurrent infections, so your doctor might try other treatments first.
Surgery Might Be Necessary
Your doctor might recommend surgery to widen the urethra so you can pass urine normally again. This might be laser surgery that removes the scar tissue or it could be a type of reconstructive surgery that removes the scarred tissue and rebuilds the tube with tissue removed from elsewhere on your body.
Your doctor has to consider your overall health and the severity of your stricture when deciding what type of treatment to recommend. You might be able to live with the problem if you can manage it well enough that you don't have pain or frequent urinary tract infections. If not, surgery might be an option to consider for long-term or permanent relief.