Hydronephrosis

What is hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis is a condition characterized by inflammation of the kidney due to urine accumulation.

When this occurs, the kidneys swell from excess urine, which cannot empty into the bladder.

Prognosis of the disease

Symptoms can usually be relieved with proper treatment. However, if it takes too long, the kidneys can become permanently damaged and may even lead to the ultimate loss of kidney function.

Symptoms of hydronephrosis

Symptoms of the disease vary depending on the cause, location of the obstruction and duration, but generally the symptoms associated with hydronephrosis are as follows:

  • More frequent urination
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Painful urination
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Cloudy urine
  • Painful urination
  • Back pain

Medical tests for hydronephrosis

To properly treat hydronephrosis, it is important to establish an early diagnosis. In this way, total loss of kidney function can be prevented. To diagnose hydronephrosis, a number of tests can be performed.

First, a physical examination should be performed, palpating the abdomen to see if the kidney is swollen. Then a catheterization of the bladder is usually performed to check the location of the obstruction.

On the other hand, imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or CT scan, may also be performed to examine the severity of the inflammation and to locate the area of the obstruction.

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What are the causes of hydronephrosis?

The most frequent causes of this pathology are usually the following:

  • Kidney stones
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)
  • Prostate cancer
  • Tumors in the ureter
  • Polyps in the ureter

Can it be prevented?

The causes of hydronephrosis cannot be prevented in most cases, but early diagnosis and proper treatment to address the cause of the condition can reduce the risk of complications, such as kidney failure.

Treatments for hydronephrosis

There are different types of treatment for hydronephrosis, aimed at eliminating the obstruction of urine flow. Depending on the cause of the hydronephrosis, one treatment option or another will be established.

On the one hand, insertion of a ureteral stent, which is a tube that facilitates the passage of urine from the ureter to the bladder, can be performed.

On the other hand, a nephrostomy tube insertion can be performed to drain the urine through the back.

It may also be treated with antibiotics to control the infection.

In some cases, surgery may be indicated to remove scar tissue, a blood clot or a kidney stone, if these are the causes of the obstruction.

What specialist treats you?

The physician who treats hydronephrosis is the Urology specialist.