What is a urethral diverticulum?

The urethra is the tube through which urine leaves the bladder and exits the body when a person urinates. The tube is only about 4 cm long in women. A condition known as urethral diverticulum (UD) occurs when an unwanted pocket or sac forms along the urethra. Because of its location, it can become filled with urine or even pus. This can lead to infections and other problems.

Is a urethral diverticulum a common condition?

No, it’s relatively uncommon, although it’s diagnosed more often today. Now doctors have better imaging techniques available to explore the problem when patients report pain in this part of the body.

Still, it’s believed that some cases are not properly diagnosed because the condition is relatively rare, and the doctor doesn’t always think of it. UDs are seen most often in women between the ages of 30 and 60.

What causes a urethral diverticulum?

The cause isn’t always known. There seems to be a link between UDs and multiple bladder infections, which may weaken the urethra wall. A block in the glands near the urethra also may be to blame.

What are the symptoms of a urethral diverticulum?

Many women with a UD feel discomfort in their pelvic area from the mass. They also may have:

  • Frequent urinary tract infections.
  • Dribbling of urine after they urinate.
  • Pain on urination.
  • A frequent urgent need to urinate.
  • Blood in their urine.
  • Pain during sexual intercourse.

Importantly, symptoms may come and go. About 20% of patients with a UD do not report having any symptoms at all.

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