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What is Urethral Trauma?

Injury to the urethra doesn’t happen very often. But this can result from straddle-type falls or pelvic fractures. Dealing with these problems quickly and properly is critical for the best results.

Male Urinary Tract
Male urinary tract
Medical Illustration Copyright © 2015 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved

Female Urinary Tract
Female urinary tract
Medical Illustration Copyright © 2015 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved

What Happens under Normal Conditions?

The urethra is a tube-like organ that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. In males, the urethra starts at the bladder and runs through the prostate gland, perineum (the space between the scrotum and the anus), and through the penis. The anterior ("front") urethra goes from the tip of the penis through the perineum. The posterior ("back") urethra is the part deep within the body.

In females, the urethra is much shorter: it runs from the bladder to just in front of the vagina. It opens outside the body. Normal urine flow is painless and can be controlled. The stream is strong and the urine is clear with no visible blood.

What is Urethral Trauma?

Urethral trauma is when the urethra is hurt by force.

Trauma to the anterior urethra is often from straddle injuries. This can occur with a sharp blow to the perineum. This type of trauma can lead to scars in the urethra ("urethral stricture"). These scars can slow or block the flow of urine from the penis.

Trauma to the posterior urethra almost always results from a severe injury. In males, posterior urethral trauma may tear the urethra completely away below the prostate. These wounds can form scar tissue that slows or blocks the urine flow.

For females, urethral injuries are rare. They're always linked to pelvic fractures or cuts, tears, or direct trauma to the body near the vagina.

Urethral injury can also result from objects piercing the sex organs or pelvis.