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Home > Services > Kidney Care > Kidney Conditions > Vesicoureteral Reflux

Vesicoureteral Reflux

Vesicoureteral Reflux—Adult

Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) happens when urine flows from your bladder back into the kidney.

Urine normally flows from the kidneys, passes through tubes called ureters, then flows into the bladder. Each ureter connects to the bladder in a way that prevents urine from flowing back up the ureter, similar to a one-way valve. When this does not work properly, or if the ureters do not extend far enough into the bladder, urine may flow back up to the kidney. If the urine contains bacteria, the kidney may become infected. The back up can also put extra pressure on the kidney and cause kidney damage.

The Urinary Tract

Anatomy of the Urinary System
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Risk Factors for VUR

Factors that increase your chance of developing VUR include:

  • Family history
  • Congenital abnormalities of the urinary tract
  • Birth defects that affect the spinal cord, such as spina bifida
  • Tumors in the spinal cord or pelvis
  • Spinal cord injury

Symptoms of VUR

In most cases, VUR has no obvious symptoms or signs. In some cases, we find VUR after diagnosing a urinary tract or kidney infection

Diagnosing VUR

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

Your bodily fluids may be tested with:

  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Ultrasound

We may also need images of your bodily structures and perform:

  • CT scans
  • Voiding cystourethrograms (VCUG)
  • Intravenous pyelograms
  • Nuclear scans

Do You Have VUR?

Learn more about your VUR treatment options at UVA.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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