A urethral stricture is a scar in or around the urethra, which is the tube that drains urine from the bladder. A stricture can block the flow of urine.
What is going on in the body?
Urethral strictures are more common in men. This is because women's urethras are shorter and less prone to disease. Anything that harms the urethra can cause a stricture. Rarely, a person can be born with urethral strictures. As the opening of the urethra narrows, it is increasingly more difficult for urine to flow through it. This can lead to the bladder becoming enlarged and weakened.
What are the causes and risks of the condition?
The following conditions can lead to urethral strictures:
infection. Gonorrhea infection of the urethra used to be the most common cause of urethral strictures. However, the development of effective antibiotics has made this complication rare today. It is unclear if infections from chlamydia and ureaplasma cause strictures. Common urinary tract infections such as bacterial cystitis do not cause strictures.
external injuries, such as a straddle injury. This occurs when a hard object strikes the base of the perineum, such as on a bicycle. Pelvic fractures can also lead to strictures of the urethra.
open or endoscopic surgery. Surgical procedures involving the urethra can result in stricture formation. Rarely, insertion of a urinary catheter can cause this problem.