About Spinning Top Urethra

Every person's body is shaped differently. Doctors recognize normal variation in everything, including the shape and size of the urethra. One variation known as spinning top urethra can help indicate the reasons for problems like urinary incontinence.

Spinning Top Urethra

Spinning top urethra, or STU, is a term radiologists use to describe a variant in the shape of the urethra. This variant is found mostly in young girls, according to the Radiology website. It is characterized by a widened posterior urethra and usually occurs when the muscles involved in supporting and controlling the bladder are not working in proper coordination with those of the urethra.


Spinning top urethra is associated with urodynamic abnormalities. A girl could experience narrowing of the urethra when she voids her bladder. This acts as an obstruction to urine flow and can stop her from completely emptying her bladder. Urine retention can lead to distension of the bladder, urinary tract infections and trouble with bladder leakage.


Spinning top urethra is usually diagnosed through video urodynamic testing. A technician will take pictures of the bladder as it fills or of the urinary tract as the bladder empties using X-rays or sound waves. By looking at the images, a doctor can diagnose spinning top urethra because of its distinctive appearance of being very wide closer to the bladder and narrowing toward the urethral opening, giving it the appearance of a top.


If a girl experiences urinary problems because of spinning top urethra, she can make behavioral changes to help manage them. Timed voiding of her bladder and double voiding can reduce the risk of bladder leakage and prevent urinary retention. If she has problems with recurrent urinary tract infection, long-term antibiotics could be necessary. Medications are available that can help her achieve better bladder muscle control, according to Pediatric Nephrology.


A child might be embarrassed to discuss bladder control problems, but treatment is available for most causes of incontinence and urinary dysfunction. Video urodynamics are an important tool for urologists because they allow for the diagnosis of spinning top urethra and other abnormalities that occur internally, according to "Pediatric Nephrology and Urology: the Requisites in Pediatrics."

Every person's body is shaped differently. Doctors recognize normal variation in everything