Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is a disease characterized by irregular flow of urine in the body. Urine typically flows downward from the kidneys, through the ureters (the tubes that connect the bladder to the kidneys), then into the bladder. In an individual with VUR, the urine travels back to the kidneys through the ureters.
Some children are born with a problem in the valve like functions of the muscles between the bladder and the ureters. This is called primary VUR. In other cases, VUR occurs as a result from another problem, such as injury or infection. This is called secondary VUR, and it can occur at any age.
Symptoms of VUR include constipation, uncontrolled bowel movements, bed-wetting, high blood pressure, and kidney failure. Urinary tract infections (UTI) can also occur from VUR. About 1 in 3 children who get a UTI has VUR. Symptoms of a UTI in young children include fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and irritability. In older children and adults, symptoms may include fever, bloody urine, a constant need to urinate, and a burning sensation during urination.
Caucasian children under age 1 are at highest risk for VUR. Boys are more likely to get primary VUR, but girls are more likely to get the secondary form. Having a family history of VUR increases the risk for primary VUR since this form is inherited. VUR can be confirmed with a urine culture, an ultrasound of the kidneys, or x-rays of the urinary tract.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with vesicoureteral reflux, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options. Support groups are also a good source of information.
Description Last Updated: Sep 30, 2017