Rare diseases and conditions affecting the female urethra

The urethra tube is a short tube of approximately 4cm long between the bladder and the outside world, and in women is often affected by conditions which interfere with continence (the ability to store urine). The urethra may fail to relax which can cause major problems.  In other patients, there may be inflammation or infection in glands associated with the urethra tube, which leads to the formation of what’s called a diverticulum, which can cause problems with incontinence and many other unpleasant symptoms including pain and infection.

The urethra can be narrowed by scarring, what’s known as a stricture, which can be a difficult problem.  In a number of women, relating to increasing age, with prolapse of the urethra down into the vagina and with damage consequent upon childbirth, incontinence (failure to store urine) can occur. The treatment of this with synthetic mesh has been very much in the news recently. All of these conditions are ones which are considered in our ERN, where we can provide suitable specialist guidance and expertise from experts across Europe to guide the appropriate management of patients.