We all assume the passing of urine as just another daily routine event. But for those who have this condition called stricture urethra, it may be the most stressful event. Stricture is any narrowing in the tube through which we pass urine. The length of the urine tube (urethra) in males ranges from 16-20 cm and in females 3-4 cm. And the narrowing (stricture) can be anywhere along the length of the tube. The tube at rest (not passing urine) will be in a collapsed state will the walls touching each other and when passing urine they separate for the urine to flow. In both males and females, the normal caliber of urethra is 24 to 30 Fr (3 French = 1 mm). When the narrowing gradually develops, initially the patient will not have symptoms as the bladder compensates by generating extra pressure to express the urine out. When the caliber of urethra becomes 1/3rd of the normal size i.e., 10 Fr, the patient starts experiencing his/her urine flow to be poor, along with straining of urination, burning during urination, blood in the urine, sense of incomplete emptying of bladder. Sometimes patients may come with sudden painful urine block (inability to pass urine).
The doctor after clinical examination, will usually ask for tests which include urine and blood tests, ultrasound abdomen, uroflow test. Based on the initial test reports, further tests will be needed to localize the length and extent of narrowing by tests called RGU and MCU .
These tests will guide the urologist what further treatment needs to be planned.