Vesicoureteral Reflux

Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is a medical condition where urine flows backward. Typically, urine goes from the kidneys and then through the ureters (tubes that connect your kidneys and bladder) to the bladder. VUR means that urine is going back toward the kidneys.

VUR happens mostly in infants and young children. Most do not have long-term problems and will not need surgery. If not treated, VUR can cause damage to the kidneys.

An adult who has had surgery for VUR may have ongoing kidney issues. Sometimes an adult is diagnosed with VUR after having several urinary tract infections (UTIs) with fever.

The Northwestern Medicine Congenital Urology Program provides comprehensive treatment and care for patients with VUR.

Signs of VUR

A common symptom is a UTI with a fever. The backward flow of urine can cause a bacterial infection in the kidney. This is more severe than an infection of the bladder only.

Symptoms of VUR

Symptoms can include:

  • Kidney infections
  • Bowel problems, such as constipation

Diagnosis of VUR

The best way to diagnose VUR is with an ultrasound or other imaging. Your physician can talk to you about your risk factors and if testing is needed.

Care Options for VUR

Treatments for VUR depend on:

  • How long infections have been happening
  • The health of your kidneys
  • The type VUR

Treatments can include antibiotics, surgery, or minimally invasive injections into the bladder.