Both men and women have urethras, which are tubes that transport urine out of the body. There are a few medical problems that can affect a man’s urethra, including urethral strictures. Urethral stricture occurs when the urethra becomes abnormally narrow. If you’ve been diagnosed with this painful condition or you suspect you might have symptoms of it, it’s time to make an appointment with a urologist.
Signs and Symptoms
Urethral strictures can be uncomfortable, causing pain of the lower abdomen and pelvic area, along with painful or difficult urination. Other urinary symptoms can include the following:
- Loss of bladder control (incontinence)
- Urinary urgency
- Increased urinary frequency
- Bloody urine
- Dark urine
- Inability to fully empty the bladder
- Weak urine stream
Along with urinary problems, urethral strictures may result in bloody semen, abnormal urethral discharge, and penile swelling.
Causes and Risk Factors
Men may have urethral strictures because of a disease or injury that affects the area. Some people develop scar tissue after undergoing surgery, which can also cause narrowing of the urethra. It’s possible, although not likely, for urethral strictures to be caused by a tumor. Tumors that grow near the urethra can exert pressure on the tube. Other factors that may increase the risk of urethral strictures include recurrent urethritis, pelvic injury, sexually transmitted disease (STD), and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), which is an enlarged prostate. Additionally, men may have a higher risk of urethral strictures after requiring a urinary catheter or having a cystoscopy.
In emergency situations, a doctor may place a suprapubic catheter to drain the urine and prevent complications. To treat the underlying cause, it’s possible to widen the urethra during a cystoscopy. The urologist can apply a topical anesthetic before stretching the urethra with a specialized instrument. If this doesn’t work, men may need surgery to correct the problem.
Urology Associates P.C. is a leading provider of high-quality, patient-focused urology services in Tennessee. Our urologists provide cutting-edge treatments for men with urethral strictures and sexual dysfunction. If your doctor has referred you to a urologist, you can call our office at 888-656-0667.