Vesicoureteral Reflux—Adult

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

Definition

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.
Anatomy of the Urinary System
The Urinary Tract
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

This condition may be caused by:

Risk Factors

Factors that increase your chance of developing VUR include:
  • Family history
  • Congenital abnormalities of the urinary tract
  • Birth defects that affect the spinal cord, such as spina bifida
  • Tumors in the spinal cord or pelvis
  • Spinal cord injury

Symptoms

In most cases, VUR has no obvious symptoms or signs. 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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