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Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is the backward flow of urine from the bladder into the kidneys. Normally, urine flows from the kidneys through the ureters to the bladder. The muscles of the bladder and ureters, along with the pressure of urine in the bladder, prevent urine from flowing backward through the ureters.
VUR allows bacteria, which may be present in the urine in the bladder, to reach the kidneys. This can lead to kidney infection, scarring, and damage.
There are two types of vesicoureteral reflux (VUR):
Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) doesn't cause any symptoms or pain. But it can result in kidney damage if a child who has VUR gets a urinary tract infection.
A urinary tract infection (UTI) can be a symptom of VUR. Symptoms of a UTI may include fever, pain or burning with urination, frequent urination, and the feeling that the bladder does not empty completely. Fever may be the only symptom of a UTI in a small child. So a urinary tract infection should be suspected in any child who has a high fever without an obvious cause.
Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is usually diagnosed with a test called a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG).
VUR may be suspected before a child is born from the results of a prenatal ultrasound. Or VUR may be suspected in a young child who's had several urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Your doctor will ask about the history of your child's symptoms and do a physical exam.
The following tests may be recommended:
VUR can be passed down from parent to child (inherited). If one of your children has VUR, you may want to ask your doctor if your other children need to be checked.
Many children do not need treatment for vesicoureteral reflux (VUR). The ureters grow as a child gets older. Mild cases of VUR usually go away completely by the time a child is 5 years old.
With VUR, urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more likely. Antibiotics are often prescribed to prevent or treat UTIs and help reduce the chance of scarring that can lead to kidney damage. Your child may need to take continuous antibiotic treatment. Or your doctor may give you the option of carefully watching your child for signs of another UTI and only using antibiotics when your child gets a new infection.
Surgery may be needed to repair more severe cases of VUR.
Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise StaffClinical Review Board: John Pope MD - PediatricsAdam Husney MD - Family MedicineSusan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:John Pope MD - Pediatrics & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Susan C. Kim MD - Pediatrics
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