Symptoms and treatment of urethral stenosis in men and women
Stenosis is an abnormal medical condition, characterized by the narrowing of a blood vessel or of some other tubular organ. There are different types of this condition depending on the part of body affected. Among the common types are spinal stenosis, pulamonary or mitral valve stenoses, and pyloric that affects infants’ gastrointestinal tract. In this article we will consider urethral stenosis that is also referred to as maetal stenosis.
Urethral stenosis is characterized by the narrowing of urethra. Urethra is a tube that connects the bladder with the genitals and carries out fluids from the body, namely urine and semen (in men). This disease may affect both men and women, but it occurs in men more often.
Urethral narrowing in women is usually congenital while in men it may be caused by trauma, venereal infection, or inflammation after circumcision. In women it may be provoked by numerous endoscopic procedures or after severe vaginitis.
Signs and symptoms
Congenital narrowing becomes apparent within first few years after a child’s birth, when it appears that a child has difficulties while urinating and has problems with potty training. Narrowing of the urethra causes a range of uncomfortable symptoms that include:
- incontinence and bed wetting;
- discomfort, difficulties, burning or pain while urinating;
- inability to empty the bladder;
- abnormal direction and strength of urine stream;
- bloody urine, usually at the end of urination;
- visible narrow opening (in men).
Diagnosis and treatment
To diagnose the disease in men, medical history and physical examination are enough. In women a cystourethrogram may be required. Blood tests and urine analysis are made in some cases.
Medications hardly can be used for stenosis treatment. Analgesics may be taken to relive pain and antibiotics are prescribed if the disease is accompanied or caused by some other infection.
In most cases the only way to cure the disease requires a surgical procedure that involves widening of the urethra. This operation is called the urethral dilation. It is rather simple procedure, that is done using local anesthesia. In women the urethra is widened with special instruments. In men the dilation is performed in several stages. A special instrument known as a filiform dilator, is passed through the urethra gently. The procedure is repeated with gradually increasing dilators, until the urethra widens enough. Dilation may be performed in several sessions.
There are two other more complicated options of surgical intervention: meatoplasty or urethrotomy, which are performed in more severe cases. However, even after surgical treatment, stenosis may recur.
Complications and prevention
If left untreated, urethral stenosis can cause inflammation and infections. It often happens that the disease is discovered only when secondary infections occur. Take your child to the doctor as soon as you notice any difficulties during urination.
To prevent stenosis after circumcision, practice proper hygiene, keep the child’s diaper dry and clean, avoid irritants. Adults should avoid traumas and injuries of penis. Regular visits to doctor can help reveal the disease as well as any other infections at its early stages and to prevent it from aggravation and complications.
These articles can be used for informational purposes only. To get an accurate diagnosis consult your doctor!