Your ureters are a set of two narrow tubes, each about 8-10 inches long, that run from your kidneys to your bladder. Each kidney has one ureter.
If you develop a condition called a ureter stricture, scar tissue or another type of obstruction builds up in one or both of your ureters, further narrowing the slender tube. Ureter strictures are the most common cause of urinary obstruction.
As a urinary-tract reconstruction specialist, Alex Lesani, MD removes strictures and improves your flow with simple, minimally invasive procedures. If you’re starting to wonder if you have ureteral strictures, here are three signs that suggest you do:
1. Pain or fullness in your back or side
Ureteral strictures often occur near the kidneys. When the urine can’t pass easily through the narrowed tube, you may experience pain in the kidneys, which are located on either side of your lower back.
The pain may be restricted to one side or, if you have strictures in both ureters, occur on both sides. In addition, you might experience a sensation of fullness, as your inflamed kidneys press against other organs. The pressure from ureteral strictures can also make you feel nauseated.
2. Blood in your urine or semen
If you notice blood in your urine or semen, contact Dr. Lesani right away. Blood could be a sign of a:
- Ureteral stricture
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Kidney infection
- Kidney stone
- Bladder stone
You could also have more than one condition that’s causing your blood or semen to look reddish or pink.
3. Frequent UTIs
As you might expect, if your urine can’t pass freely into your bladder, it can back up into the kidneys, causing inflammation and an infection. The infection can affect your entire urinary tract. Symptoms of a UTI include impaired urination, as well as pain and burning when you urinate.
Women are about four times more susceptible to UTIs than men because of their shorter urethras (i.e., the tube that runs from the bladder to the outside of your body). However, both women and men can develop a UTI. If you have chronic UTIs, Dr. Lesani recommends getting evaluated for ureteral strictures.
How you got your strictures
Some people are born with ureteral strictures. Most of the time, however, ureteral strictures develop because your ureters have suffered some kind of damage or trauma, including:
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
- Other types of infections
- Prior kidney stones or kidney stone surgery
- Other pelvic surgeries
- Scar tissue
- Radiation therapy
The scar tissue or other obstruction may have built up over years or even decades.
How to resolve strictures
Unfortunately, ureteral strictures don’t clear up on their own; you need to seek medical attention. To determine if you have strictures or another problem, Dr. Lesani first conducts a thorough physical exam, as well as takes X-rays, does an ultrasound, and performs other imaging studies and tests to find out which structures are involved in your symptoms.
Dr. Lesani is an expert in minimally invasive robotic surgery, which uses tiny incisions and miniature surgical instruments to open and reconstruct your damaged ureters. If you’re not a candidate for reconstruction, he may place a stent in your ureter to keep it open so that urine flows freely. You need to replace stents every 6-12 months.
If you think you have ureteral strictures and may need surgical reconstruction or stents, call our helpful Las Vegas, Nevada office staff at 702-470-2579. You can also book your appointment online.