Lesions can be caused by an accident, infection, or the way the organ grows. Some types of lesions are:
A urethral polyp is a rare, irregular growth that most often appears at birth. This polyp is often made up of fibrous tissue. It may also include some smooth muscle, small cysts, or nerve tissue, all covered with a thin protective layer of tissue.
Paraurethral cysts, also known as Skene's glands, are found in the wall of the vagina near the urethra. In a newborn, Skene's duct can become blocked by a large cyst filled with hormone secretions. Sometimes the cyst may close off the urethral opening.
A paraurethral cyst appears as a glistening, tense, and bulging yellowish-white mass that narrows the urethral outlet.
Urethral caruncles are polypoid ("stalk-like") masses hanging from part of the urethral outlet. Urethral caruncles are rare in children. The main sign of this problem is a thin, reddish membrane sticking out from the urethral outlet.
Urethral prolapse is a rare problem of the female urethra. It's much more bothersome than other benign lesions. The urethra's membrane and the spongy tissue below poke out of the urethral outlet. It's thought to be caused by the muscle not joining well to the skin layers of the urethra. This problem is found more often in pre-pubescent African-American girls 5 to 8 years old. Fewer than 1 in 10 cases occur in Caucasian girls.
Urethral prolapse is most often found by physical exam. Your urologist may find a doughnut-shaped mass around the opening of the urethra. Your daughter's urologist might order a pelvic ultrasound to help diagnose the problem. Ultrasound uses sound waves bouncing off organs to show what's inside your body.
The urologist may watch the urine stream flow through the prolapsed urethra when your daughter pees. In more than 1 out of 5 cases, urethral prolapse is misdiagnosed as vaginal bleeding.
Risk factors for this problem include:
- family traits (particularly among African-Americans)
- urinary tract infections
- high abdominal pressure
Though not likely, chronic cough, asthma, and trauma to the area may also raise the risk.