Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is the backward flow of urine. The urine flows from the bladder back into the kidney.
Urine normally flows from the kidneys. It passes through tubes called ureters. It then flows into the bladder. Each ureter connects to the bladder in a way that prevents urine from flowing back up the ureter. The connection is similar to a one-way valve. When this does not work properly, or if the ureters do not extend far enough into the bladder, urine may flow back up to the kidney. If the urine contains bacteria, the kidney may become infected. The back-up can also put extra pressure on the kidney. This can cause kidney damage.
This is a potentially serious condition that requires care from a doctor. Early treatment and prevention of infections can lead to better outcomes. If you suspect you have this condition, contact your doctor immediately.
Anatomy of the Urinary System
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In most cases, VUR has no obvious symptoms or signs. In some cases, VUR is found after a
is diagnosed. Symptoms of urinary tract infections include:
- Frequent and urgent need to urinate
- Passing small amounts of urine
- Pain in the abdomen or pelvic area
- Burning sensation during urination
- Cloudy, bad-smelling urine
- Increased need to get up at night to urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Leaking urine
- Low back pain or pain along the side of the ribs
- Fever and chills
A prenatal ultrasound may show a swelling of the kidneys. This is called
. It may indicate VUR.
VUR cannot be prevented in most cases. However, further complications can be avoided. Seek prompt treatment for bladder or kidney infections. This is particularly important if you have a neurogenic bladder.