What is a urethral diverticulum?
An urethral diverticulum (UD) is an outpouching that forms next to the urethra. Since it connects to the urethra, the outpouching repeatedly gets filled with urine thus causing symptoms.
Who usually gets a urethral diverticulum?
Urethral diverticulum’s are much more common in women than men. It can happen at any age, but is most often found between the ages of 30 -70. It is a rare condition and occurs in between one to six percent of women.
What causes a urethral diverticulum?
While we don’t exactly know if there is one specific thing that causes urethral diverticulum, studies show that repeated infections and/or obstruction of the periurethral glands can lead to UD. Other studies show that a birth defect or trauma during childbirth may also aid in the development of the outpouch.
What are common signs and symptoms of urethral diverticulum?
- Dysuria: stinging or burning when you pass urine.
- Frequency: urinating a lot – usually around every 2-3 hours.
- Urgency: “got to go, got to go” feeling when you need to urinate.
- Dyspareunia: pain with sex.
- Post void dribbling: dribbling after you urinate.
- Recurrent bladder infections
- Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Urethral discharge: you may notice a discharge coming from your urethra
- Recurrent cystitis
Symptoms are hard to pinpoint and are highly variable, making urethral diverticulum especially hard to diagnose. Your symptoms may not be apparent at all times and may disappear for long periods of time and come back.
How do you diagnose urethral diverticulum?
Since many of the symptoms reported for urethral diverticulum are non-specific, it can be especially hard to diagnose without a proper examination. Patients may be misdiagnosed for years before finally receiving treatment. To correctly diagnose urethral diverticulum, it is highly recommended that you go to a urologist or urogynecologist for a thorough examination. With the development of new technology and sophisticated imaging techniques, it has become much easier to correctly diagnose urethral diverticulum. Contact us to set up an appointment with one of our specialists.
What testing may need to be done to help confirm the diagnosis of a urethral diverticulum?
If your doctor suspects that you have one, a MRI of the pelvis will be done which will help confirm the diagnosis and show the surgeon its exact location and size. Your surgeon will also take a look at your medical history, complete a physical examination, appropriate urine studies, complete an endoscopic examination of the bladder, urethra, and selected radiologic imaging.
How is urethral diverticulum treated?
Not all urethral diverticula require surgery or surgical removal. Little is known about the history of an untreated UD – whether they grow, symptoms increase, or the complexity of the outpouch increases is unknown. Therefore, it is recommended that you get it removed in the early stages of diagnoses.