Meatal Stenosis: A-to-Z Guide from Diagnosis to Treatment to Prevention

Introduction to meatal stenosis:

The urethra is the small tube through which urine exits the bladder. The opening where the urethra leaves the body is called the meatus. In boys, this is normally found at the tip of the penis (except in boys with hypospadius).

What is meatal stenosis?

The name given to the narrowing of the opening of the urethra. In the majority of cases, this is the opening at the tip of the penis. This narrowing is enough to affect urine flow.

Who gets meatal stenosis?

Meatal stenosis is not common. It is very rare in girls.

It is most common in circumcised boys. Boys are not born with meatal stenosis. Some time after circumcision, irritation or inflammation of the opening leads to the formation of scar tissue. This causes the narrowing of the opening.

Meatal stenosis may occur at any point in childhood, but symptoms are most often noticed between 3 and 8 years old.

What are the symptoms of meatal stenosis?

You might notice your son dribbling or spraying urine, straining to urinate, or having a very narrow urine stream. The stream may leave the penis at an angle.

Boys with meatal stenosis will often urinate more often, and take longer to urinate. Sometimes they have blood in the urine (hematuria).

Urinary tract infections are a bit more common in boys with meatal stenosis. Often they complain of burning or discomfort with urination, even in the absence of a urinary tract infection.

Is meatal stenosis contagious?


How long does it last?

Meatal stenosis may last until treated.

How is meatal stenosis diagnosed?

The diagnosis is based on the history and physical exam.

How is meatal stenosis treated?

It is usually mild, but sometimes it needs to be corrected surgically. The procedure may be done on an outpatient basis, or even in a doctor’s office with local anesthetic.

How can meatal stenosis be prevented?

Decreasing irritation to the tip of the penis may prevent some cases. This might include avoiding irritating detergents or fragrances, wet or rough underclothes, and some kinds of diapers.

Leaving the foreskin intact is another way to prevent meatal stenosis.

Related concepts:

Penis tip, red.

Dr. Alan Greene

Dr. Greene is the founder of (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.