Kidney reflux, also known as vesicoureteric or vesicoureteral reflux, is a condition in which urine flows back from the bladder into the kidney during urination. This occurs when the valve in one or both of the ureters that connects the kidney to the bladder malfunctions, allowing backflow of the urine.
Untreated kidney reflux can result in kidney damage or failure, with the possibility of additional complications such as kidney scarring and high blood pressure.
A number of factors can contribute to the occurrence of kidney reflux, such as family history, congenital abnormalities with the kidney or bladder, or bladder injury.
Although not everyone with kidney reflux will exhibit symptoms, the most common sign of the condition is a recurring urinary tract infection. Other symptoms may include a strong need to urinate frequently and a burning sensation when urinating.
Tests used to diagnose kidney reflux include a kidney ultrasound, blood and urine tests and various scans and x-rays conducted after the patient is injected with special dye.
Some children with kidney reflux can “outgrow” the condition, as the valves in their ureters may mature and correct the problem in about five years. More severe cases may require surgical intervention.