Healthy kidneys filter waste from the blood, producing urine which normally flows only one direction: down the ureters and into the bladder. When something is wrong with the connection between the ureter and the bladder, the urine may flow back up (reflux) from the bladder to the ureters and at times to the kidneys.
If you have had vesicoureteral reflux as a child, there is a chance that your children will have the condition. In addition, if one of your children has it, his or her brothers and sisters may also have the condition, too.
Infrequent or incomplete urination, as well as constipation, are also associated with vesicoureteral reflux in children. Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs) may indicate the presence of vesicoureteral reflux.
How is Vesicoureteral Reflux In Children Diagnosed and Treated?
Your Nemours pediatric urologist may order a test called a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG) that uses X-rays and a special dye to show how your child’s bladder is working. This test can help determine if your child has vesicoureteral reflux.
Vesicoureteral reflux in children is graded on a scale from I (mild) to V (severe). Many times, milder grades of vesicoureteral reflux will go away on their own as your child grows and develops. However, UTIs in the presence of vesicoureteral reflux can cause kidney infections, which can lead to scarring and sometimes result in kidney damage.
Depending on the severity of the vesicoureteral reflux in your child, your Nemours urologist may discuss several treatment options, including antibiotics to prevent infections, surgery to repair the ureters, or endoscopic treatment in which a small telescope is inserted through the bladder and a gel is placed at the point where the ureter meets the bladder.
Cystitis (sis-TYE-tis) is inflammation of the bladder, also known as a bladder infection. It's the most common type of urinary tract infection (UTI) and mostly affects children and adult women.
More to Know
Cystitis is usually caused by bacteria (typically E. coli) that enter the body through the urethra and spread to the bladder. If not treated, the infection can travel to the kidneys and become a more serious problem.
Cystitis can occur in people who are otherwise healthy and have no medical problems. Irritants such as bubble baths or feminine hygiene products, poor toilet or hygiene habits, an abnormality in the structure or function of the urinary tract, drug interactions, or long-term catheter use all can cause a bladder infection.
Symptoms of cystitis include a persistent urge to urinate (pee), a burning sensation when urinating, cloudy or strong-smelling urine, low-grade fever, and a feeling of pressure or pain in the lower abdomen.
Wetting accidents in toilet-trained children often indicate cystitis. For infants and young children, cystitis may be harder to detect because symptoms are less specific. Sometimes fever is the only sign.
Keep in Mind
Bladder infections are painful and inconvenient, but most are caused by bacteria and can easily be treated with antibiotics. If you have blood in your urine, pain with urination, back or side pain, fever, nausea or vomiting, or abdominal pain, see your doctor immediately as these are signs of a possible infection in the urinary tract.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.