Learning to recognize and treat meatal stenosis, fortunately, is not generally a complicated matter; however, to do this, one should understand exactly what it is. Meatal stenosis is a narrowing of the urethra, the tube through which urine leaves the body.

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Meatal stenosis can affect both men and women, but it is more common in men. In men, it is often caused by swelling and irritation (inflammation), after a newborn is circumcised. This leads to an abnormal growth of scar tissue on the opening of the urethra, which is usually not detected until the child is toilet trained. In women, this condition is present at birth (congenital). Although less common, stenosis of the meatal can also affect adults.

Risks include:
* Numerous endoscopic procedures (cystoscopy)

* Severe, long-term atrophic vaginitis

* Abnormal strength and direction of urinary stream

* Bedwetting

* Bleeding (hematuria) at the end of urination

* Discomfort when urinating, or straining to urinate

* Incontinence (day or night)

* Visible, narrow opening in children

Signs and Tests:

In male children, a history and physical examination are sufficient to make the diagnosis. In females, a cystogram can be done. The narrowing can also be found during a physical examination, or when a health care provider is placing a Foley catheter.

Other tests may include:

* Complete blood count (CBC)

* Ultrasound of the kidney and bladder

* Urinalysis

* Urine culture


In females, meatal stenosis can be treated in the doctor’s office. This is done with local anesthesia to numb the area. After anesthesia, the opening of the urethra is expanded (dilated) with special instruments. In males, a procedure called meatoplasty is the treatment of choice.

Expectations (prognosis)

Most people urinate normally after treatment.

Possible complications

* Abnormal urine stream

* Blood in urine

* Frequent urination

* Painful urination

* Urinary incontinence

* Urinary tract infections

Situations requiring medical assistance

Call for an appointment with your doctor if your child has symptoms of this disorder.


If your child has been circumcised recently, try to keep the diaper dry and clean. Avoid exposing the newly circumcised penis to any irritant.

Alternative Names

Stenosis of the urethral meatus

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