Kidney Reflux In Babies – Everything You Need To Know

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Does your baby cry a lot while urinating? Is your little one peeing very often? Are you afraid that your baby has a UTI? Does the urine of your baby have a very foul smell? Just the other day you saw some blood stains in the urine?

Well, if the answer to anyone question is yes, we suggest you to read our post, to clear out doubts in case your baby is suffering from Kidney Reflux. Just read this post to know more about kidney reflux in babies.

What Is Kidney Reflux In Infants?

You might have heard of Acid Reflux, where acid from your stomach goes back to the esophagus and causes a burning sensation. In a similar manner, Kidney reflux or Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR) is a condition where the urine refluxes from the bladder to the kidney. The severity of this condition could be mild or extreme [1].

How The Urinary Tract Works?

In all human bodies, the urinary tract has a valve where you would find the bladder connecting to the urine tube (or ureters), which appears out of the kidney. We have two kidneys whose basic function is to filter excess fluids and foreign bodies from the blood and convert them into urine. This urine is flushed out via the ureters and the bladder connecting them. Then it is stored until the person empties his bladder. The bladder has a valve which prevents urine to flow back to the kidneys [2].

What Are The Causes Of Reflux In Kidneys In Babies?

There are mainly two types of causes for Kidney Reflux [3]:

1. Hereditary:

It could happen that the functional valve of the bladder, which prevents urine from flowing back to the kidney, didn’t grow properly. Also known as Primary Vesicoureteral Reflux. The cause of this condition could be hereditary, i.e. it runs in the family. But as baby grows, the value may straighten and grow resolving the problem completely.

2. Infection:

It could happen that your baby had repetitive UTI’s, blocking the urinary system and could lead to swelling of ureters. Also known as Secondary Vesicoureteral Reflux.

What Are The Symptoms OF Kidney Reflux in Babies?

Studies have shown that almost 50 % of babies and 30 % of older children are diagnosed with this condition. Here is a list of symptoms you should look for [4]:

  • An extreme urge to urinate
  • A lot of crying while urinating
  • Very frequent urination, but with very little quantity
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Blood stains in urine
  • Fever
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Petulance
  • Diarrhea

Before birth, diagnosis of a fetus could be done to confirm if he has this condition. A major symptom which could confirm this condition in a sonogram is swelling of kidneys.

When To Call For Medical Help?

You should consult your doctor if any of the below conditions are true:

  • Your baby is three months or less and has rectal fever of 100.4 Fahrenheit or more.
  • Your baby is three months or more and has a fever of 102 Fahrenheit or more.
  • Your baby is vomiting very frequently.
  • Your baby is suffering from diarrhea.
  • Your baby is cranky and moody, at times he cries a lot or otherwise very drowsy.
  • Your baby has no appetite and refuses all his meals in a row.

[ Read: Hepatitis In Babies ]

What Kind Of Treatment I could Offer my Baby For Kidney Reflux?

When you visit your doctor, the first thing he will advise is to get a Urinary Tract Infection Test. If the UTI turns positive, he will advise you to run another test which could confirm the Kidney reflux condition. These tests include [5]:

  • Bladder and Kidney Sonography: This test determines if there is swelling in the kidneys and chances of Primary Vesicoureteral Reflux.
  • Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG): This test determines the condition of the bladder and deducts abnormalities by taking an x-ray. It’s a two-stage test, one with the bladder full and the second with the bladder empty. For a baby it’s a bit difficult as a catheter has to reach the bladder while it passes through the urethras.
  • Nuclear Scan: This test determines if the urinary tract is functioning appropriately or not. The steps are pretty much the same as the VCUG.

[ Read: Necrotizing Enterocolitis In Infants ]

Does Reflux Have Chances To Reappear?

It’s very rare for reflux to reappear at a later stage. However, a point to be noted is that if your baby’s kidneys are damaged, high blood pressure or hypertension may be seen in the baby at a later stage.

Observe your baby when he/she is urinating and keep a tab on the number of times he’s taking a loo break. That’s the best way for you to know if he is in trouble. Do share with us your story about kidney reflux!

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