What is the urethra?
The urethra is the opening that allows urine to leave the bladder. In men, the urethra is a thin tube-like structure that starts from the lower opening of the bladder and traverses the entire length of the penis. In women, it is a shorter opening coming off the lower opening of bladder and is between 2.5 to 4 centimeters (cm) in length.
The urethra has a sphincter that is normally closed to keep urine inside the bladder. When the bladder fills with urine, there are both voluntary and involuntary controls to open the urethral sphincter to allow urine to come out.
What is urethral stricture?
Urethral stricture refers to any narrowing of the urethra for any reason whether or not it actually impacts the flow of urine out of the bladder.
Any inflammation of urethra can result in scarring, which then can lead to a stricture or a narrowing of the urethra. Trauma, infection, tumors, surgeries, or any other cause of scarring may lead to urethral narrowing or stricture. Mechanical narrowing of the urethra without scar formation (developmental causes or prostate enlargement) can also narrow the urethra.
Urethral stricture is significantly more common in men and boys compared to women and girls. This condition is considered rare in females.