A urethral stricture is a condition in which a man has a narrowing in his urethra. The narrowing can cause some uncomfortable symptoms, but it is something that can be fixed. If you're worried that you have a urethral stricture, here are some signs, symptoms, and treatment options that you should be aware of.
Having a urethral stricture at birth is extremely uncommon. A majority of them are developed over time due to scar tissue and inflammation from a disease or injury. Here are some conditions that can increase your risk of developing one:
- Sexually transmitted diseases and infections
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
- Pelvic injury
- Using catheters
Some men might spend years with a urethral stricture and never notice, while others have mild to severe symptoms. Symptoms of a urethral stricture include:
- Discharge from the penis
- Bloody semen
- Painful urination
- Pelvic pain
- Swelling of the penis
A urologist can perform tests to find out if you have a urethral stricture. There are different types of tests that can be done, so you might get one of them or a combination of several. Tests include:
- Gonorrhea and Chlamydia testing
- Urinary flow rate test
- Urine culture
- Retrograde urethrogram
- Post-void residual (PVR) volume
A post-void residual volume test is a test that shows how much urine is leftover in the bladder after urinating. This test is great for finding out if you have a urethral stricture because it can diagnose both the stricture and benign prostatic hyperplasia, which can cause the stricture. The retrograde urethrogram test is done via x-ray. The technician injects a contrast dye into the urethra and takes x-rays of the urethra and bladder to see if there is a narrowing. This test is slightly uncomfortable, but it is quick and effective.
A urethral stricture doesn't need to be treated unless it is causing problems; however, treating it before problems occur may be in your best interest. There are many treatment options available. Your urologist will decide which ones you're eligible for. These include:
- Endoscopic urethrotomy
- Implanted stent/ permanent catheter
These treatments can include using a catheter at home, receiving a permanent catheter, having the urethra dilated, or even vaporizing extra tissue with a laser. These treatments should only cause a mild discomfort and will allow you to feel better in no time.
A urethral stricture can be extremely uncomfortable when left untreated. If you're experiencing these symptoms, see urologists as soon as possible so you can receive the tests and treatments needed.