A blockage between the bladder and kidney is not only painful but, if left untreated, can cause irreversible damage to the kidney. Since there is more than one cause for blockage, the exact cause will need to be pinpointed before treatment can begin.
Normally, the kidney processes waste, which then travels through the ureter and into the bladder. When there is an obstruction, the waste backs up into the kidney.
When a blockage occurs, symptoms can include severe pain in the back that sometimes radiates to the pelvis and legs. Blood may also be visible in the urine.
Kidney stones are the most common type of blockage. The American Urological Association Foundation also lists ureteropelvic junction obstruction, megaureter and extrinsic obstructions of the ureter as other causes of blockage between the bladder and kidneys.
A physician will generally take a urine sample and order x-rays with dye to determine that an obstruction between the kidney and bladder exists. If the doctor suspects the obstruction is a kidney stone, these tests will confirm that diagnosis.
Kidney stones can sometimes be left alone to pass themselves. If they are too large to pass on their own, they can either be removed surgically or be broken into smaller pieces by using shock waves.
Obstructions between the kidney and bladder caused by something other than kidney stones may require additional testing. Once testing is complete, the physician will determine the best treatment.