Urethrocele (Urethral Prolapse)

A urethrocele is a form of pelvic organ prolapse in women in which the urethra—the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside of the body—moves from its natural position and presses against the vaginal wall. This occurs when tissues and muscles that hold the urethra in place stretch or weaken.

A woman can develop a urethrocele if her pelvic muscles become damaged from pregnancy, labor, childbirth, or a previous pelvic surgery. These muscles may also weaken with age. In rare cases, a urethrocele can be present at birth (congenital).

A woman who has a urethrocele may leak urine, especially when she coughs, laughs, or jumps. This leakage is a condition known as incontinence. A woman may also have difficulty emptying her bladder, which can lead to a bladder infection (cystitis).

Many women with this condition do not have symptoms and do not need treatment. If symptoms occur, exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, called Kegel exercises, may help. Kegel exercises involve repeatedly contracting and releasing the muscles that control urine flow. Sometimes a woman who has a urethrocele needs surgery.

Current as of: February 20, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology