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Urethral Strictures*

A urethral stricture is an abnormal narrowing of the tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder (urethra).

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Causes of Urethral Strictures

Urethral strictures may be caused by inflammation or scar tissue from surgery, disease, or injury. Rarely, it may be caused by pressure from a growing tumor near the urethra. Other factors that increase the risk for this condition include:

  • Procedures that place a tube into the urethra (such as a catheter or cystoscope)
  • Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Injury to the pelvic area
  • Repeated urethritis (inflammation)
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)

Strictures that are present at birth are rare. The condition is also rare in women.

Symptoms of Urethral Strictures

  • Blood in semen
  • Discharge from the urethra
  • Bloody or dark urine
  • Strong urge to urinate and frequent urination
  • Decreased urine output or inability to urinate (urinary retention)
  • Loss of bladder control (incontinence)
  • Pain in the lower abdomen and pelvic area
  • Slow urine stream (may develop suddenly or gradually) or spraying of urine
  • Swelling of the penis

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms be sure to discuss them with your provider at Urology Associates.

*Information provided by MedlIne Plus.



Most of these procedures can be done as an outpatient procedure. They may require placement of a catheter for a period of time.

  1. Urethral Dilation:  Using progressively larger metal or plastic dilators (called sounds) to stretch the urethra.
  2. Direct Vision Internal Urethrotomy:  Using a small blade or a laser through a scope in the urethra to cut the scar tissue, thus opening the urethra.
  3. Optilume:  Procedure using a drug-coated balloon, introduced into the urethra and inflated to open the scar, creating tiny tears into which the drug (a safe antiproliferative chemotherapeutic drug) enters and prevents new scar formation.
  4. Learn More about Optilume

  5. Urethroplasty:  Open surgical procedure that opens the scar and places a graft of healthy tissue.

Common complications include:

  • bleeding
  • infection
  • re-stricturing
  • catheter discomfort

The choice of procedure will be discussed with your urologist and will be based on such factors as length of stricture, its location in the urethra, the cause of the stricture, and any previous procedures undergone to correct a stricture.