What is Urethral Stenosis?

A urine test is typically used to help diagnose urethral stenosis.
A urogram, which uses x-rays to image the urinary tract, helps identify urethral stenosis.
Urethral stenosis can interfere with a woman's ability to urinate.
Urethral stenosis is caused by a blockage in the urethra, such as kidney stones.
The urethra is a tube that connects to the bladder.
Article Details
  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Urethral stenosis is a medical condition characterized by a blockage in the urethra, the tube which drains fluid from the bladder to the outside of the body. There are a number of different causes for this condition, and an assortment of treatments are available, depending on the root cause. Usually, this condition is diagnosed by a urologist, and he or she generally takes charge of the treatment plan as well.

The hallmark of urethral stenosis is difficulty urinating. People may experience pain or burning sensations when they try to urinate, or they may develop muscle spasms and twinges. Because of the increased strain caused by difficulty urinating, this condition can lead to secondary inflammations and infections, and sometimes the condition is discovered when people seek treatment for these secondary problems.

In some cases, urethral stenosis is congenital, meaning that someone was born with it. Cases of congenital urethral stenosis usually become apparent within a few years of birth, when a child seems to have difficulty urinating or has trouble with potty training. This sometimes requires surgical correction, to widen the ureter so that it is easier to urinate.

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This condition can also arise in response to an inflammation or infection. Some sexually transmitted infections, for example, cause a constriction of the urethra. Growths of bacteria in the urethra can cause pain and burning when people attempt to urinate, or they can clog the ureter, making it difficult to urinate. Infections which affect the bladder and urinary tract are known as “cystitis,' and they can be quite dangerous if they reach the kidneys. Cysts in the urinary tract can also cause this condition, as can blockages like kidney stones or tumors.

When a patient presents with what appears to be urethral stenosis, many doctors like to start with a urine culture, to see if the problem is being caused by an infection. Doctors may also order a urogram, an image of the urinary tract, to look for blockages like stones and cysts or to check for congenital urethral stenosis. In the event that the cause of the blockage is an infection, antibiotics will often resolve the issue, along with anti-inflammatory drugs to make the patient more comfortable. Stones and cysts may indicate a need for surgery to correct the issue, while tumors typically require the use of radiation and chemotherapy in addition to surgery.

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Discuss this Article

anon964427
Post 7

Does a urethral stone spasm lead to clitoral stimulation as the spasm begins?

anon251050
Post 6

For a previous poster, urethral issues can go hand in hand with weak erections. My issues are also with an enlarged prostate, which squeezes the urethra and of course prostate issues can cause erectile and sex issues as well.

anon135206
Post 4

I had urethral stenosis as a child, and it was very humiliating to me, as one of the first symptoms was scratching of this area especially at night. I did not like to go to the bathrooms when traveling or at school because they were usually "dirty". This was in the early sixties in Texas and many bathrooms had "ringworms" on the toilet seats. Please go into the psychological effects of this disorder. Thank you.

anon97095
Post 3

Can a urethral stenosis be a cause for weak erections?

anon74527
Post 2

Very relevant and useful information is provided under urethral stenosis.

"What is urethral dilation?" Isn't the proper term here is dilatation?

Thanks for the information.

anon44787
Post 1

"Urethral stenosis is a medical condition characterized by a blockage in the ureter, the tube which drains fluid from the bladder to the outside of the body."

Isn't urethral stenosis blockage of the "urethra," not the "ureter"?

Moderator's reply: You are right and the article has been corrected. Thanks for bringing this to our attention and for reading wiseGEEK.

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