Perhaps you have a history of frequent urinary tract infections or previous catheterizations for surgery. In both cases, these events can lead to scarring in your urethra that impedes your ability to urinate freely.
Called urethral strictures, these blockages in your urethra can lead to pain, irregular urination, and more significant complications, often making urethral reconstruction a very good idea.
In this month’s blog post, the team of urology experts here at Arizona Urology is taking a closer look at urethral reconstruction and when it makes good sense for your comfort and health.
A small problem that can get bigger
There are many roads to urethral strictures, including those outlined above — frequent urinary tract infections or catheterizations. In addition, sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia, and trauma from an accident or surgery can cause inflammation and scar tissue in your urethra.
Urethral strictures rarely develop in women and occur far more frequently in men because men’s urethras are longer. On average, the male urethra is 7-8 inches long, compared to about 1.5 inches in women. Given the greater length, male urethras are more vulnerable to damage.
When strictures develop and narrow your urethra, it causes discomfort when you urinate and may damage your bladder and/or kidneys. In extreme cases, the urethra can become completely blocked, causing a medical emergency.
Clearing the way through urethral reconstruction
The goal behind our urethral reconstruction is quite simple — to open your urethra again so that urine can flow more freely through the long tube.
Describing this procedure isn’t so simple since it can vary from one patient to the next. First, the location and number of urethral strictures dictate how we approach your reconstruction. For example, it might be a case of simply removing a small amount of scar tissue, or we may have to remove a more considerable amount of tissue, requiring us to use graft tissue (from your own body) to reconstruct your urethra.
Rest assured, we know beforehand what your urethral reconstruction will entail, and we describe the procedure fully, so you know what to expect. In most cases, we can perform a urethral reconstruction on an outpatient basis, which means you can go home the same day with complete aftercare instructions.
While it’s impossible to say here what your urethral reconstruction journey might look like, we can say that, afterward, you should be able to urinate without issue, benefitting your entire urinary tract.
If you want to learn more about how urethral reconstruction might be key to improving your urinary tract health, please contact one of our locations in Goodyear, Gilbert, or Glendale, Arizona, to schedule a consultation.