Symptoms of a urethral stricture
A normal consequence of the urethral stricture is the weakening of the urine stream over time due to the narrowing inner diameter of the urethra. Often, the weaker urine flow is the first symptom that patients notice. Aside from the strength of the urine stream, its form can also change: A twisted appearance or a split flow that reminds of the stream coming from a watering can might be a sign for a possible narrowing of the urethra. These symptoms, however, depend on the localization of the stricture and the individual severity of it. A typical symptom is the dripping which actually only appears after the full process of urination has already been concluded. This can signal that behind the urethral stricture a small protrusion has formed that is meant to restore the normal urine flow.
Take pain always seriously
Once pain appears, it is strongly recommended that the afflicted person seeks medical attention. Pain that can be located in the perineal area or penis, is possibly caused by residual urine. Pain experienced when urinating is always a warning signal pointed at inflammation of the bladder. This is a very typical consequence of urethral strictures and is closely related with the incomplete voidance of the bladder: After urination a small amount of residual urine remains inside the bladder. There is a high risk that the residual urine contains bacteria that easily multiply under these favorable conditions. Clues for an already existing infection of the urethra are painful voidance, smaller amounts of urine than normal, a slightly red colored urine as well as the frequent need to urinate at night, which prevents the patient from sleeping through the night and decreases his or her quality of life. If the infection has already reached the renal pelvis, the patient might feel a side pain. The inflammation can also touch the prostate and epididymis and cause distinct pain.
Complications – avoid them at all costs
Especially at the early stages a urethral stricture does not always cause distinct discomfort. Unfortunately this is not a real advantage since a quick and appropriate therapy can help in avoiding consequential complications.Therefore it is even more important, that actually existing symptoms are treated promptly since it is especially pain that is a signal for incomplete voidance and hence for an infection around the urogenital region. In how far complications do appear depends on the extent of the stricture as well as the ability of the immune system to fight bacterial infections.
Generally, residual urine has a negative effect on the rest of the urogenital region. A painful complication for men is often the inflammation of the prostate and the epididymides. Men and women, however, can experience residual urine with its inherent bacteria not only in the bladder, but also in higher parts of the body, such as the kidneys, kidney area and in the ureter which connects the kidneys with the bladder. Side pains and fever are distinct signals for an infection that also touches the kidneys are make an immediate visit at the doctors inevitable if long-term damage to the kidneys – possibly with the consequence of lifelong dialysis – is hoped to be avoided.
A complication of unnoticed, not fully treated or completely untreated urethral infections is the urospsis. A urospesis is a possibly life-threatening blood poisoning that makes itself known through high fever. It represents an emergency which requires immediate medical therapy to avoid multi organ failure.
Warning signal – urinary retention
Another emergency is the complete urinary retention which is caused by extreme urethral stricture. It can be recognized by stomach ache caused by a massively over-stretched bladder that is unable to void. To provide for a discharge of urine by means of a catheter through the abdominal wall, and through the removal of the urethral stricture do not only serve in the acute treatment. It is equally important to consider the long-term consequences of a chronically over-stretched and saggy bladder. A bladder that is only partly functional constitutes a new risk for infections due to residual urine.