Uretral damage from radiation


What do you know about urinary tract injuries after radiotherapy? Have you also suffered from urinary tract injuries after radiotherapy sessions? Do you want to know what are the complications and injuries of the urinary tract following radiation therapy?

If you have questions like the above questions and you are looking for answers to them, if you want to know about the complications and injuries that enter the urinary system after radiation therapy, especially the urethra, if you have narrowed ducts following radiation therapy, we recommend that you read more.



What are the side effects of radiation therapy on the urethra?

What is meant by fibrosis or tissue hardening following radiation therapy?

What are the specific side effects of radiotherapy?

Radiation therapy in the abdomen and pelvis

Urinary tract and its problems

What causes urethral stricture?

How is urethral stricture diagnosed following radiation therapy?

What is the treatment for urethral stricture?

Urethroplasty surgery




Following radiotherapy, depending on the type of radiation therapy performed, the patient's condition and the type of underlying disorder that has necessitated radiotherapy, the extent, duration and intensity of radiation in different people will be different complications and consequences of radiation therapy.

It is interesting to note that although some people develop urinary tract complications after radiation therapy, others do not develop any complications after radiotherapy sessions.

What these side effects are and how they will affect people's lives, as we have said, depends on a number of factors. There may be people who can return to work and social activities during radiation therapy. And others need to rest during this time.

In the following, we want to talk about the side effects of radiation therapy on the urinary tract:


What are the side effects of radiation therapy on the urethra?

Complications vary from person to person receiving radiotherapy. In some of the above cases, symptoms and complications may occur after radiotherapy. Some people experience urethral complications and problems during the sessions immediately after the session, and some may notice the complications after a year or so.

Complications following radiotherapy Despite the variety that they have in different people, it is said that they will usually go away after a few weeks to a few months after the end of the treatment period. Complications and problems that sometimes stay with people for a long time or prolong people's lives It has been subject to changes and adverse effects for a long time.

We emphasize that if you experience any complications or changes that occur after or during radiotherapy sessions, you should inform your doctor and your treatment team very soon.


What are the general side effects of radiation therapy?

In general, the complications and problems that result from radiation therapy are strongly related to the place where the radiation was applied. Some of the effects may be caused by radiation therapy to any part of the body in general. You can see these effects under the heading of general complications below.

Nausea, diarrhea, anorexia, skin rashes, fatigue, bone marrow fatigue and blood problems.



Hair loss, fibrosis or hardening of the tissue Hardening and fibrosis of muscles and joint problems.

People who have radiation therapy to the urethra or radiation therapy to the pelvis and lower abdomen have their urethra affected. One of the complications that these people may experience frequently is fibrosis and tightening of the wall that forms the urethra, followed by narrowing of the urethra.


What is meant by fibrosis or tissue hardening following radiation therapy?

One of the most common conditions for people being treated is fibrosis at or near the radiation site. This feature and these conditions are called tissue turquoise.


A few weeks to a few months after treatment is over, a person may experience fibrosis or hardening of the tissue.

The occurrence of these conditions, that is the occurrence of tissue stiffness and fibrosis can be associated with different effects and different clinical manifestations. Among the effects of tissue fibrosis are the following:

The occurrence of severe pain and tissue stiffness, reduction of tissue elasticity, narrowing of pathways and canals, especially narrowing of the urinary tract, and reduction of tissue elasticity.

It is important to note that if you have had radiation therapy sessions and now have a feeling like the one described above, pain, or possible urethral obstruction, it is best to tell your doctor immediately.


What are the specific side effects of radiotherapy?

Aside from the general side effects, if radiation therapy is performed on specific parts of the body, it has different side effects and manifestations depending on the site, because the topic discussed in this article is the effects of radiotherapy on the urethra, so it is better to have a brief overview of its side effects:


Radiation therapy in the abdomen and pelvis:

If radiation therapy is performed in the abdomen and pelvis, the following specific complications are possible:

Fatigue, diarrhea, hair loss Nausea and vomiting Constipation and abdominal muscle spasms and abdominal pain and skin problems and changes, burning when urinating blood, pain when urinating, urinary incontinence, frequent urination, urinary retention or difficulty urinating .

Changes in male and female fertility Changes in women's menstruation and the onset of early menopause in some people

Urinary incontinence and incontinence In defecation

Bleeding from the urethra and rectum

In the following, we want to talk more about the side effects of radiation therapy on the urethra, especially the urethral stricture that many people complain of after radiotherapy sessions.


Urinary tract and its problems:

The function of the urethra is to direct urine from the bladder to the outside of the body, and in men the urethra becomes an important channel in their sexual function and ejaculation. When a wound develops in the wall of a duct following injury or infection and swelling and inflammation, it may narrow the duct and block it, reducing or blocking the flow of urine.

In conditions such as the above, we say that the person has a so-called urethral stricture. One of the common complications that people suffer from abdominal and pelvic radiation therapy is the urethral stricture and may cause many complications and manifestations. Of course, there are many treatments to eliminate this complication.

Urethral stricture the formation of scar tissue or fibrosis, which means hardening of the tissue in the walls of the urethra and can cause the internal urethra to narrow and in some cases become completely blocked when urethral stricture occurs, the flow of urine from the bladder is restricted.


What causes urethral stricture?

It was said above that the cause of urethral stricture is the formation of scar tissue and scars in the wall of the urethra. This scar tissue may have been created due to the following factors:

People who have a history of urethral surgery or an endoscope inserted through their urethra, such as a history of cystoscopy, or long-term placement of a Foley catheter in the urethra to remove urine from the bladder are also at risk for urethral stricture.

Improper catheter placement and long-term retention of urinary catheters in the pelvis Incidence of pelvic fractures Acute and chronic urinary tract infections and trauma to the duct STDs and benign tumors or malignant masses

Natural childbirth took a long time

Endoscopic surgeries such as cystoscopy of prostate incisions or treatment of bladder tumors through urethra or ureteral stone crushers.

Urinary tract polyps Surgery on the urethra, for example, people who have had hypospadias surgery.


People with a history of radiation therapy:

One of the most common complications of pelvic and lower abdominal radiotherapy in people is tightening of the urethral wall causing scarring and narrowing of the urethra.

People who develop urethral stricture following radiation therapy or during treatment may experience various urinary symptoms, which are mentioned below.

Urinary tract stenosis following radiation therapy. It is important to note that men who undergo radiotherapy are more likely than women to undergo stenosis, Of course, in many cases, doctors say that it is very difficult to diagnose the main cause that causes narrowing of the urethra. Symptoms and manifestations include the following:

Urinary incontinence, urinary tract infections, frequent urination when urinating, feeling of urgent need to urinate, bifurcation of urine stream during urination, urinary incontinence, incomplete emptying of the bladder and decreased urine flow.


How is urethral stricture diagnosed following radiation therapy?

After obtaining a detailed history and examining questions about clinical manifestations and reviewing medical records, radiotherapy surgery history of traumas and traumas is very important. If necessary, be sure to suit the circumstances paraclinical methods such as imaging modalities or other tests are used. Among the diagnostic methods, the following can be mentioned:

Severe pain and hardening of the tissue, reduction of tissue elasticity

Narrowing of pathways and canals, especially narrowing of the urinary tract and reduced tissue elasticity

It is important to note that if you have had radiation therapy sessions and now have a feeling like the one described above, pain or possible urethral obstruction, it is best to tell your doctor immediately.


Request a urine test

To check for infection, blood and other abnormal problems


Urine flow test

In this test, the strength and amount of urine flow should be measured and evaluated.

Ultrasound, especially ultrasound of the residual volume of bladder urine, is very important.


Pelvic ultrasounds after urination

Pelvic ultrasound should be performed by a qualified physician. Also, a plain x-ray with an X-ray and even an MRI may be requested as appropriate.


What is the treatment for urethral stricture?

When a person is being treated for a diagnosis of urethral stricture, it is important to continue treatment. If urethral stenosis is treated, the person should be monitored by a physician for up to a year to prevent recurrence of the stenosis as well as monitoring. Be careful about urinary tract infections.


Let's see what are the treatment options for treating urethral stricture:

Which treatment method to use and choose to relieve urethral stricture depends on many different factors, Among the factors that are important in choosing and treating urethral stricture are the following:

Length of stenosis, extent of stenosis, location of stenosis, history of previous surgeries, history of radiation therapy

After some time of radiation therapy, the severity of the person's clinical manifestations as well as the underlying diseases.


Note the various techniques that we will name and explain below:


  • Dilation of the urethra

This method is used for cases where the urethral strictures are mild. This method is a suitable method in these cases, it is simple, hassle-free and low-cost. Dilation of the narrowed duct using metal stents is done by a doctor, and an important point that is very common in this method will be the recurrence of the stenosis.

  • Urethrotomy

This procedure is performed endoscopically. An incision is made in the narrowed area of ​​the urethral wall using special blades and the stenosis is removed.


  • Urethroplasty surgery

When a person has a narrowing of the urethra and is not useful and efficient with the above two techniques of dilation and preparation of the urethra, the doctor should consider surgery. The basis of surgery performed to treat duct stenosis is to remove the narrow area and join the two adjacent edges of the stenosis that have now been released.

If a patient presenting with urethral stricture has a length of stenosis so long that the two ends of the urethra cannot be removed after removal. To replace this gap, surgeons may cut other tissues, such as the lining inside the mouth, and use them to compensate.

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