Urethral Stricture Overview
The urethra is the portion of the urinary tract which moves urine from the bladder so that it can be excreted. The urethra is an elastic tube that allows the smooth passage of urine. In some circumstances, the passage may be narrowed due to scar resulting in obstruction of the urine flow.
About the Urinary Tract
The urethra is part of the urinary tract. The urinary tract runs from the kidneys to the urethra. Kidneys set the ball rolling by receiving blood and purifying it. The kidneys’ filtering units, known as nephrons, filter the blood. Urine is the byproduct of the filtration. The lower ends of each individual kidney are connected with a ureter. Each ureter is like a thin pipe that runs from the kidneys all the way to the bladder. These ureters carry urine to the bladder.
The bladder’s function is to hold the urine until it is ready for excretion. When the time comes, the bladder sends a signal to the brain. The bladder valves open, allowing urine to move through to the urethra. The urethra allows the urine to pass through as it makes its way out of the body. The urethra is a longer structure in men than women.
Essential Facts About Urethral Stricture
Here are several facts about urethral stricture:
- Congenital urethral strictures (which happen at birth) are rare.
- Urethral strictures may not cause any symptoms at all.
- Medication does not help in treating the condition. Surgical procedures are the best solution.
- Urethral strictures can be treated.
Causes and Symptoms
The urethra is typically wide enough to allow the free flow of urine from the body, but when the urethra becomes narrowed by one or more factors, the result is a urethral stricture.
Read on to learn the symptoms and causes of a urethral stricture and how Advanced Urology can help.
The Common Symptoms of a Urethral Stricture
Urethral stricture symptoms are serious, which is why you need to see an Atlanta urologist if you experience symptoms such as:
- Weak urine flow or a sudden reduction in the volume of urine on a routine basis
- Sudden urges to urinate
- Spraying of the urine stream or splitting of the stream
- The sensation of an unemptied bladder, even after urinating
- Burning sensation or discomfort during urination
- Urethral discharge
- Presence of blood inside the urine and semen
- Inability to urinate even when you feel the urge to do so. This is extremely serious and may require immediate medical attention.
If you’ve experienced symptoms like these, you’ve probably already researched them online and have begun looking to next steps with queries like “urologist near me” or “urethral stricture treatment near me.” Call Advanced Urology today at 678-344-8900 to learn more about urethral stricture treatment options and make an appointment.
Causes of Urethral Stricture & When to See an Atlanta Doctor
A urethral stricture usually occurs because of tissue inflammation inside the urethral region, which then results in a scar. This can occur anywhere along the length of the urethra in males or females. The most common causes for urethral strictures are related to some sort of trauma, either accidental or surgical. This trauma can be an accumulation of several minor injuries throughout one’s lifetime. Strictures can also result from certain infections or inflammatory diseases.
Some of the other causes that can contribute to urethral stricture disease include:
- Pelvic fractures
- Prior catheterization (instrumentation of the urethra)
- Recent prostate surgery
- Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
- Untreated urinary tract infections
- A tumor located within the proximity of the urethra
- Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea
If you’ve experienced symptoms of urethral stricture, it is time to visit your doctor in Atlanta. Your urologist can correctly diagnose the causes of your urethral stricture and make informed recommendations about the treatment that’s right for you.
Urethral Stricture: Diagnosis and Testing
To be diagnosed with a urethral stricture, visit your urologist and tell them about any previous injuries or medical conditions. There are physical examinations and lab tests used to determine the severity of your condition.
Once your doctor evaluates the seriousness of your condition, you’ll have a better idea of what the next steps in treating your urethral stricture will involve.
When Should You Get Tested in Atlanta, GA for a Urethral Stricture?
If you’ve considered whether you should see a urologist and get tested for urethral stricture, here are a few questions that you should ask yourself:
- Are your symptoms making life difficult for you?
- Are you having any discomfort every time you urinate?
- Are you experiencing sudden feelings of urgency or accidents after urinating?
If you’ve answered positively to these questions, you’ve probably already begun researching your symptoms online with queries like “urologist near me” or “treatment for urinary infection near me.” Advanced Urology is here to help. Call us today at 678-344-8900 to learn more about diagnosis and testing options and to make an appointment.
Common Tests for a Urethral Stricture
Once you’ve decided to see a urologist in Atlanta for your symptoms, the next step is run tests to learn the cause of those symptoms.
This test involves evaluating your urethra and bladder with a small telescopic camera. This will allow your doctor to evaluate the disease directly. This test may cause some mild discomfort.
A retrograde urethrogram is another radiological test that evaluates your urethral stricture symptoms. This test involves placing a catheter at the entrance of the urethra. Radiographic images are then taken to assess the location, severity, and length of the urethral stricture. This minimally invasive test may cause some mild discomfort.
Your Atlanta urologist will collect a urine sample from you and run various tests to rule out different causes of urethral stricture.
Finally, your doctor may decide to take special x-rays while you urinate to glean helpful insights regarding your urethral stricture and its causes.
Urethral Stricture: Medication and Supplements
Once you have had your urethral stricture diagnosed from a urologist, your doctor should recommend a treatment plan which could include medication. Medication is one of the first methods of treatment used for a urethral stricture to help deal with inflammation and pain.
Your doctor may suggest that the most comprehensive way to manage urethral stricture is through surgery. While medication can help reduce the severity of your condition, it may not be enough to repair the root cause of your urethral stricture.
Effective Medications for Urethral Stricture
The use of medication in urethral stricture is not as widespread as it is for some other conditions related to the urinary tract.
While many conditions that are centered around the prostate or bladder require medication for recovery, the case is a bit different with a urethral stricture. If you’ve experienced urethral stricture symptoms, you’ve probably already begun researching your options online for treating it using phrases like “urologist near me” or “treatment for urethral stricture near me.” If so, call Advanced Urology today at 678-344-8900 to learn more about Atlanta treatment options and make an appointment.
Doctors do prescribe a lot of painkillers and antibiotics to people suffering from urethral strictures. Patients suffering from a urethral stricture may experience pain. Painkillers or local anesthesia may be useful.
Moreover, antibiotics are also given as part of the medication regimen to help make sure that there are no infections of the urethral region as the urethra is prone to infections. An antibiotic will not only keep away future infections but will also limit the impact of any current infection.
Supplements and natural products may provide some relief from urethral stricture symptoms. Here are a few natural supplements that can assist not only with urethral stricture but a lot of problems related to your urinary health and urinary tract. These supplements include:
Cranberry contains many benefits because it contains special nutrients known as PACs, which assist the human body in preventing bacteria from getting attached to the walls of the urinary tracts. Most of the problems related to the urinary tract happen because of the presence of bacteria on the walls. If you are able to prevent this from happening, many of these conditions can be repelled.
Pygeum is often used to address problems related to the balder. Pygeum is an herbal tree extract long used in folk medicine to promote bladder health and may aid in alleviating some of the pain or inflammation related to urethral stricture.
Clematis is a homeopathic treatment that may relieve some of the symptoms associated with urethral strictures. It may help improve the flow of your urine. Clematis may help the urethral tract in establishing a proper flow of urine across the bladder.
When to Seek Further Treatments for Urethral Stricture in Atlanta, GA
Although medications for urethral stricture aren’t meant to magically clear away the pain, you should talk with your doctor if you feel that the pain is same as before or becoming unbearable for you to manage.
Your Atlanta urologist will probably recommend surgical treatment options for the condition.
Urethral Stricture Treatments and Surgery
Once a stricture develops inside your urethral passage, it doesn’t tend to go away easily. Urethral stricture medications are not recommended as a primary form of treatment because they merely manage symptoms related to pain and inflammation but do not correct the cause of the stricture.
For this reason, surgical procedures are the most effective form of treatment for urethral stricture.
How to Know if Urethral Stricture Surgery is Right for You
Since no other form of treatment really provides a solution to a urethral stricture, a surgical procedure is the next step. If you respond positively to the following, you’ll need to be treated for a urethral stricture by your Atlanta urologist.
- Stones inside your bladder – This is serious and it is necessary that a surgical procedure is performed as soon as possible
- Difficulty urinating including pain or straining, a weak stream, and the inability to urinate at times
- Recurrent infections inside the urinary tract
- Increasing amounts of urine remaining inside the bladder after you urinate
- All other methods have failed to alleviate your pain and problematic symptoms
If you are suffering from any of the circumstances mentioned above, you have likely begun researching treatments online with queries like “urethral stricture surgery near me” or “urologist near me.” Advanced Urology in Atlanta is here to help. Call us today at 678-344-8900 to learn more about treatment options and make an appointment.
The Most Effective Surgical Treatments for Urethral Stricture in Atlanta
These are several surgical options that can alleviate your painful symptoms and get you on the road to recovery:
Urethral dilation is a surgical technique which can be done under general or local anesthesia. As the name sounds, the procedure manually widens the scar within the urethra. Thin rods with increasing diameters are carefully inserted into the urethral opening. You may need repeat treatment from time to time to ensure the strictures don’t come back again. Urethral dilation, however, does pose a risk of making the stricture worse over time.
Direct Vision Internal Urethrotomy
DVIU, or Direct Vision Internal Urethrotomy, is an endoscopic procedure. An endoscope, which is a thin tube with a camera attached is inserted inside the urethra to get an image of the stricture. Once the stricture has been visualized, a tiny knife is passed through the endoscope to open up the stricture and to cut it lengthwise. A catheter is then inserted into the urethra and remains there for a week to promote healing. While effective, there are potential complications related to DVIU including UTI and bleeding.
Suprapubic Catheter Placement
At times the urethral stricture is dense enough where such options above are not possible. In these situations, a catheter placed directly into the bladder through the lower abdomen may be necessary to drain the bladder.
Urethroplasty is an open surgical treatment that reconstructs the urethra through various methods to re-establish good urine flow throughout. Open surgical repair involves an incision somewhere along the path of the urethra and the stricture is repaired directly via sharp dissection and suturing. If the stricture is long, we will generally add natural tissue from another location to help preserve penile and urethral length, such as a local skin flap (penile or scrotum) or a buccal mucosa graft (tissue from the mouth).