Hydronephrosis arises when a blocked ureter causes swelling on the kidney. The following HealthHearty article describes the symptoms of unilateral hydronephrosis.
In normal circumstances, urine is carried by ureters, from the kidney to the bladder, where it is stored and then released out of the body. However, when the normal flow of urine is obstructed due to a blocked or narrowed ureter, it causes swelling of the kidney(s). The backward pressure of the obstructed urine, leads to distention or dilation of kidney, which is called hydronephrosis. It is classified as unilateral or bilateral, depending on whether such distention occurs in one or both the kidneys, respectively. Given below are the symptoms associated with unilateral hydronephrosis.
Symptoms in Adults
The manifestation of symptoms depends on whether the blockage happens quickly or gradually. In case of acute hydronephrosis, which happens due to a sudden obstruction, the symptoms will be seen within a few hours of blockage. Chronic hydronephrosis develops over weeks or months, and is generally asymptomatic.
- Swelling in the abdomen
- Urinary tract infection
- Frequent urination
- Pain while passing urine
There are generally no symptoms observed in this case. However, one may feel a dull aching pain or discomfort, on the side of the affected kidney.
Symptoms in Infants and Children
Usually, infants with hydronephrosis are born with this condition. However, it may also be developed in the later stages of childhood. It can occur due to a defect or obstruction of the one-way valve that controls the flow of urine. The symptoms include pain, urinary infections, bleeding, swelling in the abdomen, and decrease in urination. The child may even develop a skin rash, as the toxins are not flushed out of the body. The baby may cry uncontrollably due to abdominal and lower back pain. However, the symptoms tend to go unnoticed in most cases.
Symptoms during Pregnancy
The enlarged uterus of a pregnant woman, makes her more susceptible to unilateral hydronephrosis. This is because the growing uterus tends to take up a lot of space, and makes it difficult for the kidneys to pass urine. This is manifested through sharp and intermittent pain near the ribs and hips.
Facts about Hydronephrosis
This condition usually occurs as an outcome of some underlying disease or condition like:
- Obstructive uropathy
- Backflow of urine from bladder to kidney
- Kidney stones
This condition can affect people irrespective of age, and is observed in 1 out of 300 people. The blockage can occur anywhere in the narrow tubes of the ureter, but is mainly seen in the renal pelvis region, where the kidneys join the ureter.
The treatment options include removal of the obstruction that causes the backflow of urine. A nephrostomy tube is inserted into the urinary tract, in case of acute obstruction. Chronic hydronephrosis is treated by insertion of a uteric stent. For further information, speak to your health care provider, or an appropriate professional. Detection in the early stages, followed by prompt treatment, will help to get rid of the condition, and prevent complications.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.