Controversy about embryogenesis and organisation of human female urethra: A review

  • P Gichangi

Abstract

Objective: To assess current knowledge on development and associated structures.
Data sources: Current scientific publications in the pubmed data base on the development of human female urethra were reviewed. The embryology of human female urethra and its associated structures is presented.
Study selection: The following search words: urethra development, female urethra development, and male urethra development were used.
Data extraction: The first 100 publications from urethra development search and thereafter 100 publications excluding those in the first search were reviewed to determine whether they described development of female urethra.
Data synthesis: There are limited studies describing the formation of female urethra. Unlike male urethra, female urethra does not undergo masculinisation meaning there is no formation of clitoral urethra. Like the male urethra, there are female urethra associated glands whose presence and functions remain speculative. Female urethra associated structures including Skene’s glands also referred to as female prostate, corpus spongiosum of female urethra and what has been described as the G-Spot may all be congenital malformations considering that they are not uniformly present.
Conclusions: Female urethra development differs from that of males though there are some similarities. Studies to elucidate the development of female urethra are needed to clarify some of the misconceptions and to provide embryological explanation of gross and histological features of female urethra.
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eISSN: 0012-835X