It’s estimated that only 10% of the population has Vesicoureteral Reflux, but that number jumps up to about 17% in children. What’s more, if they’re going to the doctor because of a UTI infection, children will have VUR 70% of the time. With those kinds of numbers it’s important to learn about this condition. And if you’re female, you’ll account for 85% of the reported VUR cases.
There are two main type of VUR, primary and secondary. Primary VUR usually strikes a child when still in the womb, and problems with urination originate there, though this type will often disappear with age. Secondary VUR shows up later and these are the children with reflux problems, or problems urinating.
Causes of Vesicoureteral Reflux
- This condition happens quite often when other siblings have already had it;
- Children with spina bifida are likely to get VUR;
- Boys get it as infants because of forceful urination. Girls will get it later due to irregularity;
- VUR can happen in children that have other urinary tract problems or issues, such as posterior urethral valves, ureterocele, or ureter duplication.
- If you are a Caucasian you are more likely to get VUR.
Symptoms of Vesicoureteral Reflux
One of the biggest symptoms is a UTI infection. If a child has any symptoms of a bladder infection, they will have to be tested, and they will have a high chance of having VUR:
- Problems urinating;
- Urinating with increased urgency;
- Urine that only dribbles out;
- Children with continual problems wetting their pants;
- Swollen kidneys;
- Poor or slow weight gain;
- high blood pressure;
You don’t want your child to have any later complications in life because of something like VUR, which can be treated. One common complication that develops in children is scarring of the kidneys due to high blood pressure that often develops from VUR, whether they had it at an early ago or chose not to treat it.
If your child only has a UTI infection, you will have a good chance of clearing it up within a few weeks using medications, but the key is going to the doctor to make sure it’s not something more serious.
Treatments for Vesicoureteral Reflux
When tests are performed, your doctor will determine what level of reflux your child is experiencing, and put it on a scale from 1-5, 5 being the most severe.
The good news is that most children will fall into the 1-3 category ranges, which will often clear up with time. No therapies are needed, unless the VUR was accompanied by fevers, at which point your doctor will prescribe medication.
If your child is in the 4-5 range, you may have to have surgery performed. A surgeon will create a flap-valve in the ureter that will prevent urine from flowing the wrong way, from the bladder to the kidneys.
This is a drastic method, but the alternative could be severe damage to the bladder, urinary tract, or kidneys later in life, ore even before they’re fully grown.
Where to Learn More
There are many great websites out there where you can find information on VUR as well as other conditions present with VUR, such as a bladder or urinary tract infection.
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC)