Hydronephrosis - bilateral
Bilateral hydronephrosis is the enlargement of the parts of the kidney that collect urine. Bilateral means both sides.
Bilateral hydronephrosis occurs when urine is unable to drain from the kidney into the bladder. Hydronephrosis is not itself a disease. It occurs as a result of a problem that prevents urine from draining out of the kidneys, ureters, and bladder.
Disorders linked with bilateral hydronephrosis include:
In a baby, signs of a problem are often found before birth during a pregnancy ultrasound.
A urinary tract infection in a newborn baby can signal a blockage in the kidney. An older child who gets repeat urinary tract infections should also be checked for blockage.
A higher than normal number of urinary tract infections is often the only symptom of the problem.
Common symptoms in adults may include:
The following tests can show bilateral hydronephrosis:
Placing a tube into the bladder (Foley catheter) may open the blockage. Other treatments include:
The underlying cause of the blockage needs to be found and treated once the buildup of urine is relieved.
Surgery performed while the baby is in the womb or shortly after birth can have good results in improving kidney function.
Return of renal function can vary, depending on how long the blockage is present.
Irreversible kidney damage may result from conditions that cause hydronephrosis.
This problem is often found by the health care provider.
An ultrasound during pregnancy can show a blockage in the baby's urinary tract. This allows the problem to be treated with early surgery.
Other causes of blockage, such as kidney stones, can be detected early if people notice warning signs of kidney problems.
It is important to pay attention to general problems with urination.
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Gallagher KM, Hughes J. Urinary tract obstruction. In: Feehally J, Floege J, Tonelli M, Johnson RJ, eds. Comprehensive Clinical Nephrology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 58.
Nakada SY, Best SL. Management of upper urinary tract obstruction. In: Partin AW, Dmochowski RR, Kavoussi LR, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh-Wein Urology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 89.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 4/1/2023
Reviewed By: Kelly L. Stratton, MD, FACS, Associate Professor, Department of Urology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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