Peeing is one of those bodily functions we take for granted. When the urge hits, we simply find a washroom, go pee, wash our hands, and go about the day. But what happens when peeing becomes an issue? Perhaps you don’t seem to be peeing excessively, but when you do, it hurts. You may be suffering from urethral stricture. But what does that mean? We’re going to take a detailed look at urethral stricture. From urethral stricture causes and urethral stricture symptoms, to urethral stricture treatments, we’ll give you the basics of urethral stricture so that you will be prepared if it happens to you.
What Is Urethral Stricture?
What is urethral stricture? Essentially, a urethral stricture is a constriction within your urethra, the thin tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. This is usually due to an inflammation of the urethra or scar tissue found within it. The narrowing of the urethra prevents urine from flowing freely. While this condition is seen in both men and women, urethral stricture seems to affect men at disproportionate rates. Now let’s move on to discuss the various reasons behind a possible compression of the urethra.
What Causes Urethral Stricture?
We now know what urethral stricture is, but what actually causes it? Unfortunately, there are quite a few causes for urethral stricture that range from the mundane to medical conditions that might require immediate attention.
Infection of the urethra caused by viruses such as sexually transmitted diseases can lead to the narrowing of the urethra and the presence of scar tissue.
2. Surgical Complications/Medical Procedures
A urethral stricture can be caused by a number of surgical issues and medical procedures. These can include surgery to remove the prostate, catheter use, kidney stone removal, and endoscopic examinations that require doctors to place tools into the urethra.
Injuries to the genital region and the surrounding area can cause damage and restriction to the urethra. Pelvic injuries, as well as injuries to the scrotum or perineum, can also result in injury and scar tissues to the urethra.
With these causes in mind, you can begin to watch for symptoms of urethral stricture.
Symptoms of Urethral Stricture
Urethral stricture comes with many symptoms that are fairly easy to identify. The symptoms of
urethral stricture can include:
• Slow or decreased urine stream
• Urine stream spraying
• Urinary incontinence
• Pain with urinating
• Urethra pain
• Abdominal pain
• Bloody or dark urine
• Blood in semen
• Urethral leaking
• Urinary tract infections
• Swelling of the penis
• Bladder control loss
As you can see by this list, most of these symptoms are pretty easily recognized and there will often be more than one symptom at a time. When these symptoms start appearing, it’s best to go see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Diagnosis of Urethral Stricture
One of the first things the doctor will do is ask you about your current and recent medical history. They will go through the symptoms that you may be experiencing as well as assess any possible injuries, infections, etc. that could have caused your urethral stricture. This will often be followed by a physical exam of the genitalia to look for hardness, redness, or swelling, especially in males. Following the general physical exams, other tests may be ordered such as urethral imaging (X-ray or ultrasound), urethroscopy (so the doctor can look inside the urethra for damage and or scar tissue), and retrograde urethrogram. Tests for STDs and other viruses and infections may also be run to determine what the cause of your urethral stricture may be. Once a diagnosis is made, you can move on to treatment.
Treatments for Urethral Stricture
There are numerous treatments for urethral stricture, but unfortunately, most of them aren’t exactly pleasant. The following are common treatments for urethral stricture.
The quickest, non-surgical treatment for urethral stricture is dilation. A wire-like medical device called a dilator is passed into the urethra and pushed upward until the narrow area is found. The device will slowly widen the urethra in the affected location.
In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary. This usually involves the removal of scar tissue blocking the urethra. This can be done though traditional surgical procedures or with lasers.
3. Urine Flow Diversion
In severe cases where the above treatments are unsuccessful, urine flow diversion may be used to relieve the blockage. This involves the insertion of a catheter into the abdomen and the flow of urine is diverted. It should be noted that this rare measure is often used as a last resort.
Don’t worry; if reading these treatment options made you cringe, it’s perfectly understandable. That being said, there are a few exercises that you can do to help prevent the narrowing of your urethra.
Exercises for Urethral Stricture
One of the few urethral syndrome natural treatments is exercise. In this case, three particular exercises that help stretch and strengthen the urethra.
1. Diamond Pose Exercise or Vajrasana
Sit on the floor in a kneeling position, with your butt resting on the soles of your feet. Keep your back straight and your hands on your knees. Your knees should be kept as close together as possible. Take in a deep breath and hold for few seconds; then exhale. Try to sit in this position for as long as you can. If possible, try to hold it for approximately 10 to 20 seconds each time. Try repeating this at least two or three times a day, and continue doing it every day for few weeks to start seeing its benefits. This exercise can be effective for problems related to weakness of leg muscles, urinary system, and digestive systems.
2. Frog Pose Exercise or Mandukasana
In this exercise, you start by making a fist with both of your hands. Then, press the belly button area gently with the tip of your thumb and bend your head down as much as possible while exhaling. Stay in this position for few seconds before bringing your head back to the original position while inhaling. This technique offers the same benefits of the diamond pose exercise and could also help with problems of the reproductive and digestive systems in women.
3. Half Tortoise Pose Exercise or Ardha Kurmasana
Begin with the same kneeling position as in diamond pose. Slowly stretch your arms above your head and bend down until your forehead touches the floor. Keep the hands extended while resting on the floor. In addition to the diamond pose benefits, this exercise also stretches your spine and shoulder muscles, and helps tone your abdomen.
While it’s not a foolproof of way to prevent urethral stricture, these exercises may be effective for reinforcing the tube and relieving associated symptoms.
Pay Attention to Your Pee
There is no part of urethral stricture that is enjoyable. It’s uncomfortable, probably painful, and generally unpleasant. The treatments are no picnic either. But, hopefully, you will now be able to recognize it and seek treatment before things get too out of hand.
“Urethral Stricture: Causes, Facts, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Exercises, Prognosis, Do’s & Don’ts,” ePain Assist; https://www.epainassist.com/pelvic-pain/urethral-stricture, last accessed May 24, 2017.
“Urethral Stricture Disease,” Urology Care; http://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/urethral-stricture-disease/causes, last accessed May 24, 2017.
“Urethral Stricture,” Mayo Clinic; http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urethral-stricture/basics/definition/con-20037057, last accessed May 24, 2017.