Urethral Caruncle


What is a urethral caruncle?

A urethral caruncle is a small, benign (noncancerous) growth or skin on the outside of your urethra (the hole you pee from). This tissue or skin is part of your urethra that has prolapsed (or stuck out) on one edge.

Urethral caruncles aren’t dangerous, and they don’t require treatment unless you have painful symptoms. However, these growths sometimes look similar to other, more serious lesions. For this reason, your healthcare provider will run tests to rule out other conditions, such as cancer.

Who gets urethral caruncles?

Urethral caruncles are most common in people who’ve been through menopause. While they can occur in premenopausal people, it’s not very common.

Urethral caruncles in males are extremely rare. To date, there’s only been one documented case in medical literature.

How common are urethral caruncles?

There are different types of urethral lesions affecting women. Urethral caruncles are the most common.

Urethral caruncle vs prolapse: What’s the difference?

You may hear people use the terms urethral caruncle and urethral prolapse interchangeably. In specific terms, a urethral prolapse is when your urethra protrudes out on all edges. (This usually looks like a tiny pink donut.) With a urethral caruncle, your urethra only protrudes out on one edge.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of a urethral caruncle?

In most cases, urethral caruncles don’t cause any symptoms. However, some people may develop:

  • Pain.
  • Bleeding.
  • A burning sensation when peeing.

What does a caruncle look like?

Urethral caruncles usually measure 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter. They’re usually red or pink, but they can turn black or purple if a blood clot forms.

Is a urethral caruncle painful?

Not usually. Many people don’t even know they have a urethral caruncle until their healthcare provider finds it during an examination.

However, some people can still develop pain or bleeding — and some have burning discomfort when peeing.

How do you get a urethral caruncle?

Low estrogen is the only known risk factor for urethral caruncles. People with low estrogen have a higher chance of developing the condition.

Estrogen keeps the skin in your genital area soft and flexible. When estrogen levels drop, you’re more prone to dry, thin skin that tears easily. Experts think this is why urethral caruncles are most common in people who’ve already gone through menopause.

Diagnosis and Tests

How is a urethral caruncle diagnosed?

Most of the time, urethral caruncles are detected during routine pelvic exams. Most people don’t even realize the caruncle is there until their healthcare provider finds it.

Your healthcare provider can diagnose a urethral caruncle with a physical examination. Urethral caruncles may appear similar to other types of urethral growths, including certain types of cancer like:

For this reason, your healthcare provider may take a biopsy to rule out other conditions. They may also perform a cystoscopy to look at the inside of your urethra and bladder.

Management and Treatment

How do you treat a urethral caruncle?

Treatment isn’t necessary unless the growth is causing uncomfortable symptoms. However, if your urethral caruncle is having a negative impact on your comfort or quality of life, your healthcare provider may recommend treatment.

The most common urethral caruncle treatments include:

  • Topical estrogen cream. Applying this cream helps restore your estrogen levels.
  • Anti-inflammatory medication. Your healthcare provider may also recommend a topical anti-inflammatory cream, such as a corticosteroid, to ease swelling and irritation.
  • Urethral caruncle removal. If nonsurgical options don’t work, a surgeon can remove the growth under local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia. It’s important to note that, even with surgical removal, there’s still a chance for urethral caruncle recurrence (return).

Are there home remedies for a urethral caruncle?

In addition to using topical creams, you can take warm sitz baths. This can soothe the area and help ease your symptoms. Some people also apply petroleum jelly. This acts as a barrier, helping to alleviate any irritation.


How can I reduce my risk for urethral caruncles?

Because urethral caruncles are associated with low levels of estrogen, hormone therapy could play a role in reducing your risk. Ask your healthcare provider about treatment options.

Outlook / Prognosis

What can I expect if I have a urethral caruncle?

If your healthcare provider suspects that you have a urethral caruncle, they may run tests to confirm the diagnosis. This step is important for ruling out other, more concerning conditions, such as cancer.

Unless the growth is causing pain or problems, treatment isn’t necessary. If you have pain, irritation or other symptoms, your provider will likely prescribe topical estrogen cream and anti-inflammatory medications.

If nonsurgical options don’t work, then your healthcare provider may recommend surgery.

Living With

When should I see my healthcare provider?

If you develop pain or bleeding around your urethra — or if you have a burning sensation when you pee — schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider right away.

What questions should I ask my healthcare provider?

Learning all you can about your situation can help you make informed decisions about your health. If your provider thinks you have a urethral caruncle, here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • Do I need a biopsy to confirm my diagnosis?
  • When will I know the results?
  • Will I need to undergo other types of testing?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Will surgery be necessary?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

A urethral caruncle is usually not a cause for concern, and treatment is typically successful. But prompt diagnosis is essential for your long-term health. Because these growths can mimic other conditions — such as urethral cancer — it’s important to see your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/18/2022.


  • Balai M, Gupta LK, Kumari A. Urethral caruncle in a perimenopausal female: Dramatic response to topical estrogen cream. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6174723/) Indian J Urol. 2018;34(4):308-309. Accessed 3/9/2022.
  • Karthikeyan K, Kaviarasan PK, Thappa DM. Urethral caruncle in a male: a case report. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11952296/) J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2002 Jan;16(1):72-3. Accessed 3/9/2022.
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