Urethral diverticulum is a condition characterised by the formation of a pouch on the internal wall of the urethra. When you urinate, the pouch can fill with urine, and the longer the urine sits in the pouch, the more opportunity there is for bacteria to breed and spread due to stagnation. The cause of urethral diverticulum isn't always clear, but it can occur due to a previous infection causing the wall of the urethra to weaken, or it can result from trauma during childbirth. Here's an overview of the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment approach for urethral diverticulum:
Common symptoms of urethral diverticulum include recurrent urinary tract infections, pain during urination, mild urinary incontinence and pain during intercourse. You may also find it difficult to empty your bladder due to the pouch causing a blockage, and you may have generalised pelvic pain. Urethral diverticulum can cause a secondary bacterial infection to develop, and this may cause additional symptoms, such as a mild fever and blood in your urine.
Diagnosis And Treatment Approach
A urologist will diagnose urethral diverticulum by taking details of your symptoms and collecting a sample of urine to check for the presence of infection. They will also carry out an internal exam using an endoscope with a small camera on the end of it. The scope is inserted into the urethra and allows your doctor to view the lining of the urethra and determine the size and exact position of the pouch. Diagnostic imaging, such as an ultrasound or MRI, may also be used to confirm there is no damage to the deeper urethral tissue.
Surgical removal of the pouch is the main treatment option for urethral diverticulum. The procedure can be carried out using keyhole surgical techniques and involves the pouch tissue being cut away and the resulting wound on the wall of the urethra being stitched closed using dissolvable sutures. You can usually go home the same day, but you will require a follow-up appointment to ensure the wound site has healed sufficiently.
If you have any of the symptoms associated with urethral diverticulum, don't suffer in silence. You may feel a little uncomfortable talking about this condition, but complete resolution of your symptoms is possible with surgery. If you'd feel more comfortable with a female urologist conducting your internal exam or performing surgery, you can make this request if your local hospital has a female urologist with space on their patient list.