Official reprint from UpToDate®
www.uptodate.com ©2017 UpToDate, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

Urethral caruncle

Leslie M Rickey, MD, MPH
Section Editors
Robert L Barbieri, MD
Linda Brubaker, MD, FACOG
Jerome P Richie, MD, FACS
Deputy Editor
Kristen Eckler, MD, FACOG


A urethral caruncle is a benign fleshy outgrowth at the urethral meatus. It is the most common lesion of the female urethra, occurring primarily in postmenopausal women. The terms urethral caruncle, urethral prolapse, and urethral polyp are sometimes used interchangeably. Technically, urethral prolapse refers to mucosa that is circumferentially everted at the meatus, whereas urethral caruncle refers to eversion of only a portion of the distal urethra, often at the posterior edge.

This topic will review the pathogenesis, clinical manifestations, and management of urethral caruncles. Related topics on urethral prolapse in children and vulvovaginal atrophy are presented separately.

(See "Overview of vulvovaginal complaints in the prepubertal child".)

(See "Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (vulvovaginal atrophy)".)

(See "Treatment of genitourinary syndrome of menopause (vulvovaginal atrophy)".)

To continue reading this article, you must log in with your personal, hospital, or group practice subscription. For more information on subscription options, click below on the option that best describes you:

Subscribers log in here

Literature review current through: Oct 2017. | This topic last updated: Oct 03, 2017.
The content on the UpToDate website is not intended nor recommended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your own physician or other qualified health care professional regarding any medical questions or conditions. The use of this website is governed by the UpToDate Terms of Use ©2017 UpToDate, Inc.
  1. Kaufman RH. Benign diseases of the vulva and vagina, 4th ed, Mosby, St. Louis 1994.
  2. PALMER JK, EMMETT JL, McDONALD JR. Urethral caruncle. Surg Gynecol Obstet 1948; 87:611.
  3. Conces MR, Williamson SR, Montironi R, et al. Urethral caruncle: Clinicopathologic features of 41 cases. Hum Pathol 2012; 43:1400.
  4. Becker LE. Urethral caruncle: a herald lesion for distal urethral stenosis? J Natl Med Assoc 1975; 67:228.
  5. Karthikeyan K, Kaviarasan PK, Thappa DM. Urethral caruncle in a male: A case report. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2002; 16:72.
  6. Türkeri L, Simşek F, Akdaş A. Urethral caruncle in an unusual location occurring in prepubertal girl. Eur Urol 1989; 16:153.
  7. Kim KK, Sin DY, Park HW. Urethral caruncle occurring in a young girl--a case report. J Korean Med Sci 1993; 8:160.
  8. Sriprasad S, Kooiman GG, Hopster D, Muir GH. Urethral caruncle in a man. BJU Int 2003; 92 Suppl 3:e68.
  9. Ozkurkcugil C, Ozkan L, Tarcan T. The effect of asymptomatic urethral caruncle on micturition in women with urinary incontinence. Korean J Urol 2010; 51:257.
  10. MARSHALL FC, USON AC, MELICOW MM. Neoplasma and caruncles of the female urethra. Surg Gynecol Obstet 1960; 110:723.
  11. Cimentepe E, Bayrak O, Unsal A, et al. Urethral adenocarcinoma mimicking urethral caruncle. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct 2006; 17:96.
  12. Atalay AC, Karaman MI, Basak T, et al. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma of the female urethra presenting as a caruncle. Int Urol Nephrol 1998; 30:609.
  13. Nakamoto T, Inoue Y, Ueki T, et al. Primary amelanotic malignant melanoma of the female urethra. Int J Urol 2007; 14:153.
  14. Omar A, Thomas A, Thompson I. Primary urethral transitional cell carcinoma presenting as a urethral caruncle. Int Urogynecol J Pelvic Floor Dysfunct 2007; 18:1227.
  15. Khatib RA, Khalil AM, Tawil AN, et al. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma presenting as a urethral caruncle. Gynecol Oncol 1993; 50:389.
  16. Hammadeh MY, Thomas K, Philp T. Urethral caruncle: an unusual presentation of ovarian tumour. Gynecol Obstet Invest 1996; 42:279.
  17. Singh I, Hemal AK. Primary urethral tuberculosis masquerading as a urethral caruncle: a diagnostic curiosity! Int Urol Nephrol 2002; 34:101.
  18. Järvi OH, Marin S. Intestinal mucosal heterotopia of an urethral caruncle. Acta Pathol Microbiol Immunol Scand A 1982; 90:213.
  19. Arnold SJ, Goode R, Ginsburg A. Photostudies of urethral varices "hemorrhoids": a forgotten lesion. Urology 1978; 11:19.
  20. North American Menopause Society. The role of local vaginal estrogen for treatment of vaginal atrophy in postmenopausal women: 2007 position statement of The North American Menopause Society. Menopause 2007; 14:355.
  21. Rudin JE, Geldt VG, Alecseev EB. Prolapse of urethral mucosa in white female children: Experience with 58 cases. J Pediatr Surg 1997; 32:423.