What Is Vesicoureteral Reflux and How Can It Be Treated?
Vesicoureteral reflux is a hereditary urological condition that mostly affects children. Vesicoureteral reflux occurs when urine flows back from the bladder through the contracting tubes that aid the bladder in retaining urine and passing it through the urethra.
Vesicoureteral reflux is caused by weak or malformed ureters (i.e. they may be too short or too straight, meaning the muscles and urinary system cannot function properly). The real danger of urine passing back through the ureters is that it will put pressure on the kidneys, thus allowing bacteria to travel further up the body rather than allowing it to be voided (through urination).
One percent of children are affected by vesicoureteral reflux, yet as it is hereditary there is a disproportionate number of sufferers in one family. For instance, if a mother currently has or did have vesicoureteral reflux, it is likely that about half of her children will be born with or develop the condition. Similarly, if one child has vesicoureteral reflux, roughly one third of their siblings will be likely to have it too.
The danger of vesicoureteral reflux is that it can go undiagnosed, causing complications to the kidneys, and if it is severe and goes untreated, it can eventually lead to kidney scarring and even kidney failure. Vesicoureteral reflux can also cause poor growth.
Reflux is generally brought to medical attention when a child has a urinary tract infection and a doctor actively tests for vesicoureteral reflux. The tests can include a renal ultrasound or in some cases a cystogram (VCUG) where a catheter is inserted into the bladder in order to take images of the bladder contracting.
There are five grades vesicoureteral reflux severity. Grades I through III usually resolve themselves without medical intervention (around the ages of six or seven), whereas grades IV and V require surgery. Children are often treated on a long-term basis with antibiotics (in order to prevent infections) while they await their outgrowth of the condition.
For the best board certified paediatric urologist to treat vesicoureteral reflux, contact Dr. Grace Hyun. As Dr. Hyun is a mother, she understands parents’ concerns and “what it’s like to be on the other side of the desk.” She is adept at striking the right balance between receiving and relaying information by doing her best to “listen and respect your time.”
Dr. Hyun’s areas of specialization includes the treatment of pediatric urological conditions including vesicoureteral reflux, varicoceles, hypospadias, kidney stones, incontinence, undescended testicles, urinary tract infections, urinary tract reconstruction, and voiding dysfunction.
Grace Hyun’s excellent services include: