Urethral stricture


A urethral stricture occurs when scarring causes a narrowing of the tube responsible for carrying urine out of the body, known as the urethra. This narrowing restricts the flow of urine from the bladder and can result in various medical issues within the urinary tract, such as inflammation or infection.

Men who experience a stricture may notice a gradual increase in discomfort during urination and a decrease in the strength of their urinary stream. This progression can lead to the need to exert more effort or strain in order to pass urine. In some cases, the problem may arise suddenly and unexpectedly, requiring immediate medical attention.


Urinary tract stricture symptoms and signs include:

  • Feeling of being unable to completely empty the bladder.
  • Decreased urine stream
  • Pain, discomfort, or difficulty when passing our urine.
  • Increasing the need to urinate or urinating more frequently.
  • Infection in the urinary tract

Urinary retention, a condition seen in patients with severe urethral strictures, is characterized by the inability to urinate. This condition is considered a medical emergency due to its potential complications. One such complication is hydronephrosis, which occurs when urine backs up into the kidneys due to a poorly draining bladder. If left untreated, urinary retention can lead to renal failure, a serious condition affecting kidney function. Therefore, immediate medical intervention is crucial in these cases to prevent further complications.


Scar tissue can develop as a result of various factors, primarily chronic inflammation or injury. The following are the most common causes leading to the formation of scar tissue.

  • Medical procedures involving the insertion of instruments, such as endoscopes, into the urethra.
  • Prolonged or intermittent use of a catheter, a tube inserted through the urethra to drain the bladder.
  • Trauma or injury to the urethra or pelvis.
  • Enlarged prostate or previous surgery to treat or reduce an enlarged prostate gland.
  • Urethral or prostate cancer.
  • Sexually transmitted infections.
  • Radiation therapy.

The presence of scar tissue causes the narrowing of the urethra, which in turn makes it more challenging for urine to flow properly. In some cases, the inflammation or injury to the urethra may occur long before the symptoms of stricture become noticeable. Alternatively, the development of a stricture may follow shortly after a urethral injury.