What is the normal female urethral length and what are the parts of the urethra?What is the normal female urethral length and what are the parts of the urethra?
What is the normal female urethral length and what are the parts of the urethra?
The urethra is a tube which carries urine from the bladder to outside the body.
The female urethra is about 3 to 4 cm long. From the bladder, urine passes through an opening called the bladder neck which is surrounded by the involuntary sphincter. There is another sphincter located in the mid-portion the urethra and this is under our voluntary control. The exit that opens to the outside is called the meatus.
What are the causes of urethral stricture?
The common causes are due to previous instrumentation of the urethra, which could be in the form of catheterization or endoscopic procedures. In several cases, no cause may be identifiable. It can also occur following reconstructive surgery on or around the urethra. It can also occur after infection, or following radiation treatment for pelvis cancers.
Strictures usually manifest many years after the initial event.
What are the common symptoms of patients with strictures?
They could be one or more of the following: Difficulty in initiating urination, straining to pass urine, poor and interrupted urinary stream, dribbling, frequent urination, sense of incomplete emptying, leakage of urine, burning while passing urine, blood in the urine,urinary tract infection (UTI) and painful retention of urine. Sometimes there may be no symptoms, and it may be incidentally diagnosed when attempting to insert a urine tube (catheter).
WHAT TESTS ARE DONE IN SUSPECTED URETHRAL STRICTURE DISEASE?
During a physical examination, the doctor looks at the meatus and other pelvic organs for any abnormalities. Basic evaluation includes blood and urine tests, an ultrasound scan (before and after passing urine), and uroflowmetry (in which the patient passes urine in a commode like a machine which records flow rates in a graphic manner). If these tests are abnormal, further imaging tests called Micturating cystourethrogram (MCU) will be asked for. In MCU, the contrast material is injected with help of a needle puncture of the full bladder and X-ray images are taken while passing urine. This will help the doctor to study the urethra. Note: this investigation should not be done if you are pregnant. By this imaging, your doctor can differentiate from other conditions which present with similar symptoms. Finally, if all the above tests are indicative of stricture, then we confirm it by urethral calibration, by checking if a certain size catheter enters the bladder easily. If it does, there is no stricture. If not, the position at which the tube gets held up is noted. This is done under local anesthesia.
Are there is any medications to correct this problem?