Urethral Stricture Symptoms: Causes and Treatment

June 24, 2024

Men's Health

Urethral Stricture Symptoms: Causes and Treatment Urethral Stricture Symptoms: Causes and Treatment

Urethral stricture in males may not be a widely discussed health issue, but its effects can be deeply impactful. While most people are unaware of the urethral stricture symptoms, it is important to understand to lead a healthy and happy life.  

At the same time, knowing the urethral stricture causes can help you gain the right treatment in time. So, read this guide to know all the details seamlessly.

What is Urethral Stricture?

The main function of the urethra is to pass urine in the human body. In men, it also functions for the ejaculation too. Though it is said to be a narrow tube, it is wide enough to pass urine freely. 

However, when the urethra narrows, the flow is impacted, and this condition is known as urethral stricture. Now, this can be due to some scar, swelling, injury, or infection as well. This can cause irritation and discomfort, considered the disease’s primary symptoms.

Though it caused 1% of people, it is still a serious concern that needs to be addressed on time. One important thing to know about urethral stricture is that it is more common in men than in women.

Thus, knowing the ureter stricture symptoms, types, and causes becomes even more important to ensure timely diagnosis and treatment. 

Types of Urethral Stricture

There are two main types of urethral stricture that you should be aware of. These are:

  • Posterior Urethral Stricture: This happens in the first 1″ to 2″ of the urethra. It is mainly caused by injury, scar, or accident. In certain cases, there are chances that the urethra is disrupted or sometimes totally cut and separated. In such a situation, the catheter is placed in the bladder via the abdomen, which is used to pass urine until the stricture is healed.
  • Anterior Urethral Stricture: This is one where the strictures can be seen in the last 9″ to 10″ of the urethra. Now, this can be caused by the straddle injury, direct injury on the penis, and even sometimes via catheterization.

Causes of Urethral Stricture

The urethral stricture symptoms of men is characterized by the narrowing of the urethra. The main cause of the issue is inflammation or scarring. Some other prominent reasons that can cause urethral stricture are as follows:

  • Any injury to your penis or scrotum
  • Pelvic fractures
  • Due to medical procedures like endoscopes
  • Surgery performed on the prostate
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Placement of urinary catheters or surgical instruments in the urethra
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Kidney stone removal treatment

While these are common causes, there are a few rare causes as well, like:

  • Tumor in close proximity to urethra
  • Consistent and repeated urinary tract infections
  • Due to sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Skin infections like lichen sclerosis

As is known, men have a higher chance of developing urethral stricture. A few factors that increase the risk are as follows:

  • Suffered one or more STIs in the past
  • Undergone the small catheter placement
  • Diagnosed with urethritis, which is caused by some infection
  • Suffering from an enlarged prostate

While these are the main urethral stricture causes, in some instances, knowing the causes can be difficult. 

Urethral Stricture Symptoms

Various urethral stricture symptoms can help you identify whether you are facing this issue or not. Some of the symptoms are quite basic, while others are quite severe and need to be addressed quickly. 

So, here are the most common urethral stricture symptoms to know:

  • Decreased strength or volume of urine flow
  • Sudden and frequent needs to urinate
  • A sensation of not fully emptying the bladder after urination
  • Interruptions in the flow of urine
  • Discomfort or burning sensation during urination
  • Loss of urinary control (incontinence)
  • Pain in the pelvic or lower abdomen area
  • Discharge from the urethra
  • Swelling and pain in the penis
  • Blood present in the semen or urine
  • Darkened urine color
  • Complete inability to urinate, which is an emergency and requires urgent medical attention

If you are facing any of these issues, then it is time to get an expert consultation. Taking care of urethral stricture symptoms and seeking treatment on time is thus important. 

Diagnosis of Urethral Stricture

Timely diagnosis of urethral stricture is quite important to avoid adverse situations. Experts use various diagnosis methods to see if you are having urethral stricture or not. So, here are the common diagnosis methods used:

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Self-Exam and History Analysis

This is the first and most common way for the diagnosis of urethral stricture. If you are facing any of the urethral stricture symptoms, it is advised to connect with the health expert and share the details of the same. Additionally, if your family has a history of facing urethral stricture symptoms in men, it is advised to go for regular check-ups.

Physical Examination

One of the most common ways to identify the urethral stricture is to go for a physical examination. A simple check-up of the penis by the doctor can easily identify if there is inflammation or redness and helps to confirm if there is urethral stricture or not. At times, it also involves the analysis of the urethral opening size.

Clinical Tests

If the above methods fail and generic urethral stricture symptoms are not present, then the next method of diagnosis is clinical tests. Some of the common tests that are conducted include the urine test and urinary flow test. Additionally, these tests examine the physical and chemical properties of urine and see if there is blood in the urine to confirm the urethral stricture.

Conducting Scans

Last but not least, the diagnosis of urethral stricture is to go for the ultrasound and scans. The most common scans that are conducted include Urethral ultrasound, Urethral imaging, Pelvic ultrasound, Pelvic MRI scan, and Cystoscopy. All these scans help to identify any kind of irregularity and thus can help to start the urethral stricture disease treatment as soon as possible.

Treatment of Urethral Stricture Symptoms

The urethral stricture disease treatment is based on the severity of the case. As of now, there are surgical and non-surgical methods to treat the urethral stricture symptoms in males. The details of the treatment procedure are as follows:

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Urethra Dialation

It is the first method of treatment under which the urethra is made wider using a tool called dilator. This is a non-surgical treatment option where a tiny wire is passed through the urethra and goes into the bladder. This slowly increases the size of the open.

Catheterization

Under this urethral stricture disease treatment method, a small tube, known as a catheter, is placed into the bladder and is used to drain out the urine. Then, antibiotics are used for infection treatment, which can cure the problem.

Urethroplasty

If the urethral stricture symptoms are severe, then you would need to go for this treatment. Here, the narrowed section is removed or made large via surgery. Then, the tissues are rebuilt around the urethra. The process is surgical, and the chances of the urethral stricture symptoms coming back are quite low.

Endoscopic Urethrotomy

In this process of treatment, a small, thin, tube-like structure known as a cystoscope is used. It goes into the urethra, from which a tool is inserted that uses a laser to treat the stricture. This method has a low scarring rate, and the recovery time is also quite fast. However, the chances of rebouling urethral stricture are still high. 

Implanting Long-term Catheter

It is a treatment option for those who do not want surgery and have quite severe urethral stricture symptoms. In this method, a stent is placed in the urethra to open it, and sometimes, a permanent catheter is placed to drain the bladder. Under this treatment option, chances of irritation, infection, and discomfort are there. 

Once you undergo the urethral stricture disease treatment, it will take a few days to weeks for you to feel better. For the invasive methods, you might take up to two weeks to fully recover. For the best information on recovery and precautions, your medical expert will connect with you and guide you.

Preventing Urethral Stricture Symptoms

Though this disease is not a very serious concern and is treatable, it is still important to know how you can prevent urethral stricture. So, here are a few tips that can help you prevent urethral stricture:

  • Use safety precautions to avoid STIs.
  • Ensure to use properly fitted athletic cups when participating in sports.
  • Use a good lubricating jelly when inserting a urinary catheter.

One important thing to note here is that you cannot completely prevent the urethral stricture. But if you see any of the urethral stricture symptoms, it is better to connect with the doctor as soon as possible and get the treatment started. 

Conclusion

While urethral stricture impacts quite a low share of people in the world, it is still important to address the concern with diligence and promptness. Once you find the urethral stricture symptoms, you must connect with the doctor for the diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. This will prevent the situation from getting worse and ensure you get the right treatment.

FAQs

What Should I Expect When I Have a Urethral Stricture?

When you undergo the treatment of urethral stricture disease, the outcomes are generally positive. Though you might need follow-up appointments and recovery time, proper healing with chances of no future development is possible.

How Would I Know If I Have a Urethral Stricture?

If you have urethral stricture symptoms like difficulty in peeing, pain while peeing, hematuria, and urinal infection, there are chances of the disease. 

When Is the Right Time to Visit the Doctor for Urethral Stricture?

If you are facing urethral stricture symptoms, it is better to visit the doctor. Additionally, you can schedule regular appointments to ensure the same is not bounced back. Take additional treatment if the symptoms still persist.

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