What are the symptoms of vesicoureteral reflux?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is usually the primary symptom. However, since the traditional UTI symptoms may be difficult to identify in infants and children, parents are directed to look for symptoms such as lack of normal growth (failure to thrive), vomiting and diarrhoea, and lack of appetite and lethargy. 90% of VUR cases occur during childhood and are usually diagnosed after a UTI. About one-third of children with a UTI are found to have VUR which may lead to infection because urine in the urinary tract provides a place for bacteria to grow. Sometimes a UTI itself is the cause of VUR. As your child gets older, untreated VUR can lead to other signs and symptoms, including bed-wetting, high blood pressure, and protein in urine which may lead to kidney failure.
What causes vesicoureteral reflux?
In most cases, VUR is a congenital condition that affects two valves in the bladder. In a healthy bladder, the valves allow urine to enter the bladder from the kidneys. The urine remains in the bladder until voiding. However, with VUR the valves in the bladder do not function properly and urine can flow back into the ureters and, in some cases, reach the kidneys. In a minority of cases, VUR can follow bladder operations or neurological diseases.
How is vesicoureteral reflux treated?
Children do not always need treatment for vesicoureteral reflux. Mild cases of VUR usually go away on their own by the time a child is 5 years old. If treatment is needed, antibiotics are usually the first line of therapy. In the event the antibiotics do not resolve the issue, the surgeon may inject a bulking agent such as Macroplastique to restore normal valve function or create new values for the ureters to prevent the backflow of urine