To make a diagnosis, a member of your health care team will ask about your symptoms and your medical history and do an exam. Tests that can help find where the stricture is, how long it is and what's causing it might include:

  • Urine tests. These look for infection, blood or cancer in the urine.
  • Urinary flow test. This measures the urine flow and how strong it is.
  • Urethral ultrasound. This shows how long the stricture is.
  • Pelvic ultrasound. This looks at whether there's still urine in the bladder after emptying it.
  • Pelvic MRI scan. This looks at the pelvic bone to see how it's involved with the condition.
  • Retrograde urethrogram. This test uses X-ray images to look for a problem or injury of the urethra. It also shows how long the stricture is and where it is.
  • Cystoscopy. This uses a thin, tubelike tool that has a lens, called a cystoscope. The tool looks inside the urethra and bladder.


Treatment might depend on the type of stricture, its size and how bad the symptoms are. Treatments can include:

  • Catheterization. Putting a small tube called a catheter into the bladder to drain urine is often the first step for treating urine blockage. Antibiotics treat an infection if there is one. Self-catheterization might be a choice for those diagnosed with a short stricture.
  • Widening, called dilation. This starts with a tiny wire put through the urethra and into the bladder. Larger and larger dilators pass over the wire to increase the size of the opening of the urethra little by little. This outpatient procedure may be a choice to treat recurrent urethral strictures.
  • Urethroplasty. This involves surgically removing the narrowed section of the urethra or making it larger. The procedure might also involve rebuilding tissues around the urethra.

    Tissues from other areas of the body, such as the skin or mouth, may be used as a graft during the process. The chance of urethral stricture coming back after a urethroplasty is low.

  • Endoscopic urethrotomy. This procedure uses a thin, tubelike tool that has a lens, called a cystoscope. The cystoscope goes into the urethra. Then a tool is put through the cystoscope to remove the stricture or treat it with a laser.

    This surgical procedure has a faster recovery than do some other procedures. It doesn't leave much scarring, and the risk of infection is low. However, urethral stricture can come back after this procedure.

  • Implanted stent or long-term catheter. This treatment might be for people with a severe stricture who don't want surgery. A tube, called a stent, is put into the urethra to keep it open, Or a permanent catheter is put in to drain the bladder.

    These procedures have a risk of bladder irritation, discomfort and urinary tract infections. They also need to be watched closely. Urethral stents are rarely used.

Clinical trials

Explore Mayo Clinic studies testing new treatments, interventions and tests as a means to prevent, detect, treat or manage this condition.

Oct. 14, 2023
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  2. Kellerman RD, et al. Urethral stricture. In: Conn's Current Therapy 2023. Elsevier, 2023. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 7, 2023,
  3. Lumen N, et al. European Association of Urology guidelines on urethral stricture disease (part 1): Management of male urethral stricture disease. European Urology. 2021; doi:10.1016/j.eururo.2021.05.022.
  4. Hughes M, et al. Advancements in transurethral management of urethral stricture disease. Current Opinion in Urology. 2021; doi:10.1097/MOU.0000000000000913.
  5. Verla W, et al. A comprehensive review emphasizing anatomy, etiology, diagnosis, and treatment of male urethral stricture disease. 2019; doi:10.1155/2019/9046430.
  6. Gelman J, et al. Urethral stricture disease: Evaluation of the male urethra. Journal of Endourology. 2020; doi:10.1089/end.2018.0316.
  7. Ami TR. AllScripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 3, 2023.


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