Hydronephrosis (Pediatric)

Hydronephrosis is a condition that can affect infants and children. It involves the dilation or swelling of the kidneys due to a backup of urine, often caused by an obstruction or blockage in the urinary tract. Hydronephrosis can result from various underlying causes and can affect one or both kidneys. Early detection and management are important to prevent potential kidney damage and complications.


  • Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction (UPJO): This is a common cause of hydronephrosis in infants. It occurs when there’s a blockage at the point where the ureter connects to the kidney.
  • Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR): In VUR, urine flows backward from the bladder into the kidneys, potentially causing hydronephrosis.
  • Ureterocele: This is a bulging of the ureter into the bladder, which can obstruct urine flow.
  • Other Obstructions: Other obstructions in the urinary tract, such as urethral valves or strictures, can cause hydronephrosis.


  • In many cases, hydronephrosis might not cause noticeable symptoms, especially if it’s mild.
  • In some cases, signs of urinary tract issues, such as frequent urinary tract infections or discomfort, might be present.
  • Severe cases can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, flank pain, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and changes in urinary habits.


  • Hydronephrosis is typically diagnosed through imaging studies such as ultrasound, which can visualize the kidney’s internal structures and the extent of dilation.
  • Further tests, such as a renal ultrasound or voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG), might be performed to assess the severity and underlying cause of the condition.


  • Treatment depends on the cause and severity of the hydronephrosis.
  • Mild cases might require monitoring and regular follow-up to ensure the condition doesn’t worsen.
  • More severe cases might require surgical intervention to relieve the obstruction and restore normal urine flow.


  • With appropriate management and treatment, the prognosis for children with hydronephrosis is generally good.
  • With appropriate diagnosis and management, many cases can be effectively treated, minimizing the risk of kidney damage.

If hydronephrosis is detected in a child, it’s important to work closely with a pediatric urologist or a healthcare provider experienced in pediatric urinary conditions. They can provide accurate information, recommend appropriate treatment options, and ensure the best possible kidney health for your child.

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