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What is Meatal Stenosis? Print E-mail
Written by Jessica Smith   
Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Meatal stenosis is a narrowing of the meatus, or the hole where the urine leaves the urethra. The urethra is the narrow tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body. In males, the urethra ends at the tip of the penis.

What is going on in the body?
When the meatus is constantly irritated, excess tissue growth may narrow the opening. As the opening becomes narrow, the flow of urine becomes restricted. The condition is seen mostly in young circumcised boys but sometimes occurs in adult men. A child may be born with meatal stenosis, especially if there are other abnormalities of the genitals.

What are the causes and risks of the condition?
Causes of meatal stenosis include:
- balanitis xerotica obliterans, a condition that causes a discoloration and dryness of the glans of the penis
- irritation of the meatus from persistent exposure to urine
- irritation of the penis from the diaper rubbing against the meatal opening
- other abnormalities of the penis and urethra, such as hypospadias
- prolonged use of a urinary catheter, which is a tube put into the urethra to drain urine
- trauma to the penis or meatus

In adult men, the condition can be caused by trauma sexually transmitted diseases.

What are the treatments for the condition?
In children, meatal stenosis is usually easily treated with meatotomy. A small incision is made in the meatus to enlarge the opening. In some cases, the outside skin may then be sewn to the inside lining of the urethra. In adults with more severe urethral meatal stenosis, a slightly more complex surgical procedure can be done.

What are the side effects of the treatments?
Surgery can cause bleeding, infection, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.

What happens after treatment for the condition?

The healthcare provider will give specific instructions for care of the meatus and surgery site. An antibiotic ointment may be applied around the meatus. The meatus may also need to be gently opened with a small plastic tube a few times a day for a couple of weeks.

The person may be advised to avoid bicycle riding, contact sports, and activities on playground equipment for a few days. In some situations, no further treatment is necessary. For more complex stenosis or surgery, a person may have further instructions to follow.

How is the condition monitored?
The meatus is examined during periodic checkups to make sure the condition does not recur. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.


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