A urethral (u-REE-thrul) stricture involves scarring that narrows the tube that carries urine out of your body (urethra). A stricture restricts the flow of urine from the bladder and can cause a variety of medical problems in the urinary tract, including inflammation or infection.

Scar tissue, which can narrow the urethra, can be due to:

  • A medical procedure that involves inserting an instrument, such as an endoscope, into the urethra
  • Intermittent or long-term use of a tube inserted through the urethra to drain the bladder (catheter)
  • Trauma or injury to the urethra or pelvis
  • An enlarged prostate or previous surgery to remove or reduce an enlarged prostate gland
  • Cancer of the urethra or prostate
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Radiation therapy

Urethral stricture is much more common in males than in females. Often the cause is unknown.

Signs and symptoms of urethral stricture include:

  • Decreased urine stream
  • Incomplete bladder emptying
  • Spraying of the urine stream
  • Difficulty, straining or pain when urinating
  • Increased urge to urinate or more-frequent urination
  • Urinary tract infection

Urethral stricture care at Mayo Clinic

Oct. 18, 2017
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  2. Male urethral stricture: AUA guideline. American Urological Association. https://www.auanet.org/guidelines/male-urethral-stricture-(2016). Accessed June 14, 2017.
  3. Tritschler S, et al. Urethral stricture: Etiology, investigation and treatments. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International. 2013;110:220.
  4. Riggin EA. AllScripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 10, 2017.
  5. Castle EP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 28, 2017.