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What are the Causes of Urethral Stricture?

Men are more likely to have a urethral disease or injury because of their longer urethra. For this reason, strictures are more common in men. They are rare in women and in infants.

Stricture (narrowing of the urethra) can happen at any point from the bladder to the tip of the penis. This narrowing restricts or slows the flow of urine in. Some common causes are:

  • trauma to the urethra
  • infection such as a sexually transmitted disease
  • damage from surgical tools
  • conditions that cause swelling

In most cases, no cause can be found.

In adults, urethral strictures are most often due to:

  • injury from a fall onto the scrotum or perineum
  • prostate surgery
  • kidney stone removal
  • urinary catheterization
  • other surgical tools

Posterior Urethral Stricture

Posterior urethral strictures happen in the first 1" to 2" of the urethra. This kind of stricture is due to an injury linked to a pelvic fracture (e.g., motor vehicle or industrial accident). In these cases the urethra is disrupted, or completely cut and separated. Urine cannot pass. A catheter must be placed either through the abdomen into the bladder (suprapubic tube), or through the penis into the bladder. This lets urine drain until the stricture can be fixed.

Anterior Urethral Stricture

Anterior urethral strictures happen in last 9" to 10" of the urethra. This kind of stricture is caused by:

  • trauma from a straddle injury (from falls onto objects where the legs are on either side)
  • direct trauma to the penis
  • catheterization