Meatal Stenosis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment


What is meatal stenosis?
Meatal stenosis refers to narrowing of the opening of the urethra at the external meatus. The urethra is a tubular structure through which urine leaves the body. This condition is also called urethral stricture. Meatal stenosis constricts urethral opening resulting in obstruction of urine flow. This condition can affect both males and females, but it is more common in males.

What causes meatal stenosis?
In males, meatal stenosis is mostly caused by inflammation and irritation of the meatus due to circumcision. Meatus is exposed due to the removal of the foreskin during circumcision. This results in abnormal tissue growth and scarring across the meatus. Meatal stenosis may also be caused by trauma, infection, surgery, chronic catheterization, or other medical instruments in the urethra.

In females, mostly meatal stenosis is congenital (present at birth). Rarely, meatal stenosis may also affect adult women.

The following are the risk factors for meatal stenosis:

  • Undergoing several endoscopic procedures like cystoscopy
  • Severe vaginitis that is present for a long time

What are the symptoms of meatal stenosis?
The following are the common symptoms:

  • Weak urine stream
  • Abnormal direction of urine stream
  • Hematuria (blood in the urine)
  • Bedwetting
  • Straining with urination
  • Urinary incontinence

How is meatal stenosis diagnosed?
In males, the doctor can diagnose this condition just by looking at the meatus during a physical exam.

In females, the doctor may perform avoiding cystourethrogram. The doctor may also find the condition during a physical exam or during placement of a Foley catheter.

The doctor may also do the following other tests to confirm the diagnosis:

  • Ultrasound of kidneys and bladder
  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Urine analysis
  • Urine culture

How is meatal stenosis treated?
In females, the doctor may dilate (widen) the opening of the urethra with special instruments under local anesthesia. The dilation procedure is mostly done in the doctor’s office itself.

In males, the doctor may perform meatoplasty. This procedure is effective and can be done as an outpatient surgery. Sometimes, dilation (widening) of the meatus may also be done.

This feature is for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute the expert guidance of a doctor. We advise seeing a doctor if you have any health concerns.

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