Anywhere from 229-627 per 100,000 older men develop a painful condition called ureteral stricture. Ureteral strictures are blockages in the ureter, which is the tube that carries urine through your penis so that it can exit your body. The blockage is usually caused by scar tissue within the ureter.
How did you develop a ureteral stricture? And, more importantly, how can you resolve one?
Alex Lesani, MD, is an expert urologist in Las Vegas, Nevada, who diagnoses and treats ureteral strictures. He’s also highly skilled in laparoscopic and robotic urinary tract reconstruction to resolve strictures.
Read on to learn the five most common causes of this painful affliction and your best treatment options.
1. Scarring from infections
One of the most common causes of ureteral strictures used to be scarring caused by a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Because of improved education about STDs, they’re no longer a leading cause of strictures in the developed world.
However, men often don’t realize they have an STD until they develop a complication, such as scarring. If you’re sexually active, regular STD tests help identify infections before they cause lasting damage.
Always use condoms when you have multiple partners or aren’t in a strictly monogamous relationship. In addition to STDs, urinary tract infections (UTIs) can cause scarring, creating strictures. A course of antibiotics usually cures a UTI.
2. Trauma or injury
If you’re an active man, ironically, you may accidentally damage your ureter, which could result in scarring. Strictures can develop after trauma or injuries due to the following:
- Car accidents
- Pelvic fractures
In fact, trauma causes more than 10% of ureteral strictures.
3. Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
An enlarged prostate, otherwise known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is another common cause of ureteral strictures. About half of men over age 50 have BPH.
Unfortunately, some treatments for BPH may cause scar tissue to form in the ureter. In fact, scarring from BPH treatment accounts for 1.7%-11.7% of strictures.
Minimally invasive treatments for BPH are less likely to cause scarring and strictures. When lifestyle changes and medication doesn’t work, Dr. Lesani will most likely recommend Greenlight laser therapy for BPH to reduce the risk of strictures.
4. Cancer of the urethra or prostate
Both prostate cancer and urethral cancer treatments can result in scarring that blocks your ureter. Prostate cancer is actually the second most commonly diagnosed type of cancer.
Radiation therapy for cancer causes DNA damage in the cells of nearby organs and tissues. Radiation can also cause inflammation that causes poorly oxygenated tissues and abnormal collagen deposition. This combination can create scars that narrow your ureter, altering urine flow and causing pain.
5. Catheter use
If you need a urethral catheter, you’re at risk for strictures. Long-term catheter use often results in scarring that narrows the ureter. The pressure from the catheter causes tissue to actually die. Using silicone rather than latex catheters may slightly reduce the risk of strictures.
Dr. Lesani uses minimally invasive robotic surgery to remove blockages and repair damaged ureters so your kidneys can easily pass urine through your ureter. His skill and expertise also prevent the recurrence of blockage and strictures.
If you’re having trouble or pain while urinating, contact us today for a diagnosis and treatment, including possible urinary tract reconstruction. Call our helpful team at 702-470-2579 for relief, or book your appointment online.