Urethral diverticulum (UD) is a pocket or pouch that forms along the urethra. Because of its location, it can be filled with urine and lead to infections. It is can cause:
- A painful vaginal mass
- Ongoing pelvic pain
- Many urinary tract infections (UTI)
It is rare, but more common in women between age 40 and 70. Children are not usually affected, unless they've had urethral surgery. With better imaging, more cases of UD have been found and treated. Still, many cases are missed or misdiagnosed.
The cause of a UD is not clear. It is often linked to repeat infections causing weakness in the urethra wall. A block in the glands near the urethra may also cause it. Earlier studies have also pointed to a birth defect or trauma during childbirth as a UD cause.
Surgical excision is often the treatment of choice for UD. If you prefer not to have surgery, counseling and follow-up visits with your doctor are important to prevent problems.
Aaron Spitz, MD is a urologist in Orange County, California. He is also the author of The Penis Book: A Doctor's Complete Guide to the Penis From Size to Function and Everything in Between.