Vesicoureteral Reflux—Child

(VUR—Child; Reflux Nephropathy—Child; Chronic Atrophic Pyelonephritis—Child; Vesico-Ureteric Reflux—Child; Ureteral Reflux—Child)

Definition

Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is the backward flow of urine. The urine flows from the bladder back into the kidneys.Urine normally flows out 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. This 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. It requires care from a doctor. Early treatment and prevention of infections can lead to better outcomes.
The Urinary Tract
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Causes

Common causes of VUR include:
  • A problem in the way the ureter inserts into the bladder
  • A ureter that does not extend far enough into the bladder
  • Neurogenic bladder—loss of normal bladder function due to damaged nerves reaching the bladder

Risk Factors

VUR is more common in Caucasians. Other factors that may increase your child’s chance of developing VUR include:
  • Family history (especially if a sibling or parent has VUR)
  • Birth defects that affect the urinary tract
  • Birth defects that affect the spinal cord, such as spina bifida
  • Tumors in the spinal cord or pelvis

Symptoms

Your child may not have any symptoms. In some cases, VUR is found after a urinary tract or kidney infection 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

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