Corrective treatment is only necessary if your stricture causes problems. You'll need frequent follow-up exams for at least a year after treatment to ensure the stricture doesn't recur and that you remain free of infection.
Treatment options at Mayo Clinic include:
- Catheterization. Inserting a small tube (catheter) into your bladder to drain urine and relieve pain — in the case of a complete blockage — is the usual first step in treatment. Self-catheterization is an option if you're diagnosed with a short stricture. Simply inserting a catheter may correct and open the urethra, if done periodically.
- Urethroplasty. Urethroplasty surgically removes the narrowed section of your urethra or enlarges it. The recurrence of strictures after urethroplasty is low.
- Endoscopic internal urethrotomy. Your doctor inserts a cystoscope — a thin optical device — into your urethra. Instruments inserted through the cystoscope into the urethra remove the stricture or vaporize it with a laser. This surgical procedure offers faster recovery, minimal scarring and less risk of infection, although recurrence is possible.
- Dilation. Your doctor inserts a tiny wire through the urethra and into the bladder. Progressively larger dilators pass over the wire to gradually increase the size of the opening. This outpatient procedure may be an option if you have recurrent strictures.
- Implanted stent or permanent catheter. If you have a severe stricture and choose not to have surgery, you may opt for a permanent artificial tube (stent) to keep the urethra open, or a permanent catheter to drain the bladder. However, these procedures have several disadvantages, including risk of bladder irritation, discomfort and urinary tract infections. They also require close monitoring.