Urethrocele or urethral prolapse is a rare condition characterized by the prolapse of the mucous membrane of the urethra through the external meatus. It can occur in young girls as well as older women and can be diagnosed clinically without radiological procedures.
Urethrocele occurs most frequently in African American girls < 10 years of age  and postmenopausal Caucasian women. Several etiologies have been postulated for its development such as estrogen deficiency, poor muscle tone or abnormality of muscles in the vicinity of the urethra  , and treatment of stress urinary incontinence with bulking agents . It has also been reported to occur spontaneously  or could be hereditary .
Two types of presentations are noticed clinically depending on the age group: prepubertal and postmenopausal. In prepubertal patients, urethrocele is usually asymptomatic and is noticed incidentally. In symptomatic patients, spotting of underclothes and a periurethral mass are the common features with urinary complaints, acute retention of urine  and strangulation being rare. Pain in the genital region may be reported if the urethrocele becomes thrombosed.
Postmenopausal patients present with bleeding per vagina and urinary symptoms such as hematuria, dysuria, increased urinary frequency, urinary tract infections and nocturia. Patients may complain of pelvic or genital pain with a feeling something coming out of the vagina with dyspareunia. Symptoms can worsen with coughing or straining. Urethrocele strangulation is more frequently reported amongst postmenopausal women compared to prepubertal patients.
Urethrocele is diagnosed after a complete history and a thorough pelvic exam with and without straining or coughing. It can be present concomitantly with a cystocele or uterine prolapse and should be differentiated from inflamed Bartholin and Skene glands. On examination, the urethrocele is seen as a pinkish or reddish ulcerated mucosal mass around the external meatus, protruding  through the anterior aspect of the vagina. In prepubertal patients, the mass is located in the middle of the external urethral meatus while in postmenopausal adults, the prolapsed mass protrudes through the meatus. If the urethrocele is thrombosed or strangulated, it may appear bluish in color. Examination of pediatric patients should ideally be performed during voiding or after catheterization of the central opening of the urethra which is visualized in the prolapsed mass. General anesthesia may be required to perform the exam in pediatric patients. Cystourethroscopy is useful to detect the urethrocele in postmenopausal women.
Radiological tests such as a pyelogram and voiding cystourethrogram are usually not required to diagnose the condition. They may be ordered if an underlying malignancy or anatomical abnormality is suspected. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the preferred modality for evaluating a urethrocele .
Histologically, the urethrocele mucosa appears edematous, thrombosed with scanty inflammation.