Urethral Stricture Disease


Urinary obstruction can occur for many reasons. In particular, obstruction of urine, as it flows from the bladder through the urethra, may be caused by a narrowing caused by scar. It occurs rarely in women, and is seen more commonly in men. A number of things can lead to stricture formation, and the most important of these are: trauma/injury (straddle injury, pelvic fracture), infection (sexually transmitted disease), post-instrumentation (eg. traumatic catheter placement, transurethal surgery) and malignancy/cancer (rare).  Following injury to the urethra by the above methods, the scar may take many years to develop.  As such, a significant number of men will present later in life with an unknown etiology. 

Strictures located at the tip of the penis/urethra (urethral meatus) may be caused by trauma; however, another common reason is an inflammatory skin condition known as lichen sclerosis (previously balanitis xerotica obliterans).

In general, urethral strictures are divided into two main categories:

1.       Anterior urethra (from the sphincter [control muscle] to the tip of the penis)

Posterior urethra (from the bladder to the urethral sphincter)

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