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Urethral Stricture

The urethra is the passage that carries urine out of the body. In a woman, the opening of the urethra is in front of the vagina. In a man, it is at the tip of the penis. Narrowing or blockage of the urethra is known as a urethral stricture. This is more common in men than in women.

Causes

A blockage of the urethra is usually caused by the formation of scar tissue due to surgery, sexually transmitted diseases, or long-term catheter use. The cause can also be unknown.

Symptoms

The symptoms of urethral stricture include:

  • Slow urine flow or a urine stream that is split or a spray

  • Urine leakage or dribbling (incontinence)

  • Inability to empty bladder completely

  • Pain when urinating or pain in the pelvis or lower abdomen

  • Frequent urge to urinate

  • Blood in the urine

  • Urinary tract infection

Treatment

If your stricture is severe, a tube (catheter) may be inserted into your urethra to drain your bladder. This should provide you with temporary relief. Without treatment, strictures almost always come back. You will need to follow up with a urologist (a doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary tract) to determine the best treatment for your condition.

Home care

  • If you were given antibiotics, take them until they are used up, or your healthcare provider tells you to stop. It is important to finish the antibiotics even though you feel better. This is to make sure your infection has cleared.

  • If a catheter was inserted, follow the instructions provided for catheter care.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider, or as advised.

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if any of these occur:

  • Fever of 100.4ºF (38ºC) or higher, or as directed by your healthcare provider

  • Bladder pain or fullness

  • Abdominal pain or swelling

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Back pain

  • Weakness, dizziness, or fainting

 

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