By Gia Loc
HCM CITY (VNS) — Urethral stricture is a common disease in Viet Nam that affects mainly men, often after motorbike accidents.
A 28-year-old male patient from the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang, for example, was diagnosed with acute urinary retention after a traffic accident.
He was hospitalised at Binh Dan Hospital's Urology Ward for treatment and his surgery was performed yesterday to remove the diseased section and rebuild the urethra.
Dr Do Lenh Hung, the ward's head, said that traffic accidents were one of the main causes of urethral stricture in Viet Nam.
On average, the ward admits at least four or five patients with the problem each week.
Many of the patients are not aware of the disease, Hung said, adding that they also do not know where to go to get the best diagnosis and treatment.
Hung said that men in particular were reluctant to go to hospital for examination if they have problems with urination.
"The ward admits many patients with the disease who have had failed surgeries. This causes difficulties in treatment if they are brought to the ward for surgery again," he said.
If patients get the correct diagnosis and treatment, the rate of success is very high, up to 98-100 per cent, according to Hung.
For instance, the disease BXO is a skin disease which can cause severe pan-urethral stricture, but several hospitals only cut the skin covering the head of the penis. This is an incomplete treatment and is difficult to treat at a later date.
Hung said that sexually transmitted infections and procedures that place a tube into the urethra could also cause urethral stricture.
Communication about urethral stricture was necessary to improve awareness in the community, he said, adding that the hospital's ward planned to organise workshops to provide free counselling and treatment to residents with the disorder.
The ward would also continue to work with doctors at University of California in the US to open training workshops in advanced techniques for its doctors and others at hospitals in Viet Nam, including HCM City.
If patients with the disease received the right treatment, their quality of life would improve, Hung said and adding that the urethral stricture can not recur easily.
He said that many patients who are diagnosed after being involved in traffic accidents were of working age.
"A catheter is attached to the patient for a long period, sometimes for more than 10 years," he said.
Nguyen Ngoc Phuong Tam, head of the urology ward at Xuyen A General Hospital, added that because of this high recurrence rate, hospitals without doctors with the professional expertise and equipment for treatment of urethral strictures were reluctant to admit such patients.
According to him, kidney and bladder complications could occur if urethral stricture was not treated properly.
Patients, especially the elderly, often mistake the symptoms simply to aging and do not visit the doctor, Tam said.
"Anyone can get the disease," he said.
Hung said that people who have disorders related to urination should go to a hospital with a urology ward, where there are experts who are well trained in this field. They could offer the right diagnosis and treatment. — VNS