Reconstructive Urology & Men's Health

Female Urethral Strictures

A urethral stricture is a scar in the urinary channel (urethra) that women urinate through, which travels out of the vagina. Urethral strictures in women are very rare. We perform several urethral surgeries for strictures in women every year at University of Utah. This does not seem like many, but actually is a lot even for a big hospital like University of Utah. The incidence of strictures in women is only about 0.5% compared to men. Many women have been treated with dilation of the urethral strictures over time and come to get surgery when the dilations are no longer effective or they have too much pain from the dilations. Another common problem that motivates women to do surgery is pain with urination or urinary tract infections.

How do you fix a urethral stricture in women?

A small surgery is done on the vagina to fix a urethral stricture (urethroplasty). The urethra is expanded through the scarred area using a small piece of the lining of the mouth (buccal graft). The surgery takes about two to three hours to perform and patients can leave the hospital the next day. The mouth heals very quickly after the surgery and the catheter is usually removed at three weeks after the surgery is complete.

What is the follow up after surgery?

We see patients about every three to six months after surgery. We will have patients perform our flow test and will do a scope procedure where we look at the area of the stricture that has been fixed. If this is stable over time patients can come back and see us yearly.

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