A stricture is a tightening or closing of the urethra (the tube that allows urine to flow out of the body). It happens when the urethra becomes damaged and scarred by injury, infection, inflammation, etc. It is a serious medical problem because sometimes a patient cannot urinate at all. Usually it can be fixed when the problem is still in early stages; when urinating is still possible even with many symptoms.
Urethral strictures are defined in two categories based upon their location:
- Posterior urethra – This is the section of urethra that passes through the prostate. It also includes the portion just below the prostate, known as the membranous urethra. The membranous urethra contains the muscle used to stop urination in mid-stream or to keep from leaking when coughing or sneezing. This muscle is called the sphincter.
- Anterior urethra – this is the rest of the urethra below the sphincter. It passes through the scrotum and exits out the penis.