Urethral Diverticulum

What Is An Urethral Diverticulum?

An urethral diverticulum (UD) is a small pouch of tissue located between the bladder and the ureters. The purpose of an urethral diverticulum is to drain urine from the bladder into the toilet bowl when there is no longer enough room in your body for it to go through normally. This is because the kidneys are unable to empty all of the urine produced by your body.

Urine production is controlled by two glands: the prostate gland and the bulbourethral glands. These glands produce fluid called prostatic juice which contains both water and electrolytes such as sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride and other substances needed for normal bodily functions. When these fluids accumulate in your bladder or ureters they cause them to bulge out causing discomfort during urination. This condition is known as a bladder infection.

The most common causes of an enlarged prostate are:

Excessive use of certain drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates and opiates. Alcoholism. Smoking tobacco products including cigarettes and cigars. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes mellitus type 2, HIV/AIDS, cancer and kidney disease.

A large amount of fat around the abdomen (abdominal obesity).

Genetics and family history.

There are several types of UDs, here is a list of the most common ones:

Apical (or apex) UDs: Apical UDs are located at the neck of the bladder where the bladder connects to your urethra. Less than 50% of men with UDs have apical UDs. The majority of apical UDs are caused by an inflammation known as interstitial cystitis. Posterior UDs: Posterior UDs are located at the neck of the bladder where it connects to your urethra. Posterior UDs can be either apical or non-apical depending on whether they are located near or away from the bladder neck respectively.

Posterior UDs are almost always caused by interstitial cystitis. Central UDs: Central UDs are located at the bottom of your bladder and are the most common type. They can either be apical or non-apical depending on whether they are located near or away from the bladder neck respectively. Central UDs are most commonly caused by an enlarged prostate. Inferior UDs: Inferior UDs are located at the ureters where they enter the bladder and are less common than central and posterior ud’s. Inferior UDs are most commonly caused by an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia.

Inner-urethral UDs: These are rarer than other types of ud’s, they are located within the urethra and can cause all sorts of problems such as inability to urinate and painful urination. These types of ud’s cause a lot of pain and have a higher possibility of becoming cancerous than apical and posterior ud’s.

Sources & references used in this article:

Urethral diverticulum in women: diverse presentations resulting in diagnostic delay and mismanagement by LJ Romanzi, A Groutz, JG Blaivas – The Journal of urology, 2000 – auajournals.org

Diverticula of the female urethra: assay of 120 cases by BL Davis, DG Robinson – The Journal of urology, 1970 – auajournals.org

Experience with the management of urethral diverticulum in 63 women by K Ganabathi, GE Leach, PE Zimmern… – The Journal of …, 1994 – Elsevier

Female urethral diverticula by GE Leach, TG Bavendam – Urology, 1987 – goldjournal.net

Contemporary evaluation and management of the female urethral diverticulum by AM Aspera, RR Rackley, SP Vasavada – Urologic Clinics, 2002 – urologic.theclinics.com

Imaging of female urethral diverticulum: an update by CP Chou, RB Levenson, KM Elsayes, YH Lin, TY Fu… – Radiographics, 2008 – pubs.rsna.org

Urethral diverticulum: diagnosis by ultrasound by TG Lee, FS Keller – American Journal of Roentgenology, 1977 – Am Roentgen Ray Soc