What is Urethral Diverticulum?

Q:
What is urethral diverticulum

A:
Urethral diverticulum (UD)
is a rare condition where a pocket takes shape in the urethra. It includes two types: congenital and acquired. And it is almost always found in women. The common age of people suffering from UD is 30 to 60.

Symptoms:

Patients who have this condition may have no obvious symptoms which even vary from people to people. But common symptoms include:

  • Incontinence
  • Urinary frequency and urgency
  • Pain during sex and urination
  • Pain in the pelvic area
  • Frequent urinary tract or bladder infections
  • Vaginal discharge

If you have any of these symptoms, please contact your doctor, for they may also be signs of other conditions.

Causes:

The exact causes of urethral diverticulum are still under research. The following factors may be associated with UD:

  • Multiple infections that weaken the uterine wall
  • Urethral glands that become blocked
  • Birth defect
  • Trauma that occurred during childbirth

Diagnosis:

As mentioned before, many other medical conditions have the same or similar symptoms. Therefore, doctors need to do additional testing and imaging to get a correct diagnosis after asking for your health history and giving you a physical exam.

The specific exams include:

  • Physical exam
  • Examination of your health history
  • Urine tests
  • Endoscopic exam of the bladder and urethra, which involves placing a thin tube with a camera on the end, called an endoscope, into your bladder and urethra
  • MRI scan
  • Ultrasound scan

Treatment:

Surgery is primary but not immediately necessary unless urethral diverticulum keeps getting worse. There are three options as follows.

  • Cutting open the neck of the UD
  • Opening the sac permanently into the vagina
  • Completely removing the UD — most common option, also called diverticulectomy

Additionally, some other procedures should be done to make sure UD will not return:

  • Closing the diverticular neck
  • Completely removing the lining of the sac
  • Performing a multilayered closure to keep a new opening from forming later

Early diagnosis is very important. Please do not hesitate to see your doctor, if you have any questions.

Keywords: urethral diverticulum; symptoms; causes; diagnosis; treatment

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