Vesicoureteral reflux is when urine goes into one or both of the ureters. Ureters connect your bladder to your kidneys.

VUR is rare in adults.

“VUR increases the risk of urinary tract infections and can cause symptoms. Many children outgrow Mild VUR and don’t need treatment. Children who develop infections may need antibiotics or surgery.”

You will learn everything you need to know about VUR, including symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

vesicoureteral reflux illustration
Illustration by Yaja’ Mulcare

In most children, VUR doesn’t directly cause any signs or symptoms, according to a 2021 research review. The most common sign is the presence of a UTI. People with VUR commonly develop UTIs because backward flowing urine promotes the growth of bacteria.

“It can be hard to know if your child has a problem. This is true with infants who can’t communicate.”

There are signs and symptoms.

Children with VUR are more likely to have.

VUR is uncommon in adults. One sign in adults, according to 2018 research, is the recurrent development of kidney infections.

VUR is categorized into two categories, primary and secondary.

“Most cases of VUR are primary. The valve between the bladder and the ureter is atypical. When this valve isn’t closed properly, urine flows back from the bladder to the kidneys.”

VUR is categorized as secondary if it’s caused by blockages in the urinary system or issues with the nerves that allow the bladder to relax. These conditions cause pressure in the bladder that can push urine back into your ureters and toward your kidneys.

VUR is most common in infants and young children under the age of 2, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. It becomes less common with age. Older children and adults can also develop VUR, but it’s uncommon.

VUR also tends to run in families, per 2016 research. About 27.4 percent of children with a sibling who has VUR and 35.7 percent with a parent who has VUR develop it too.

VUR is diagnosed in females more often than males, 2019 research suggests. This is because females have higher rates of UTIs. For the same reason, VUR is more commonly diagnosed in uncircumcised males than circumcised males, researchers say.

In a 2017 study, researchers found that female infants under 6 months were 3 times more likely than male infants to develop VUR. From around the age of 21 to 24 months, however, there was an equal prevalence between sexes.

The development of urinary tract infections is the most common VUR problem. Children with VUR recover without problems. Permanent damage can be caused by the spread of UTIs to the kidneys.

Kidney scarring is most likely when VUR isn’t treated or isn’t treated quickly. If the kidneys become significantly damaged, your child can develop problems like high blood pressure and, rarely, kidney failure.

About half of people with acute kidney infections develop scarring, according to 2022 research. Up to 15 percent of people with VUR may develop kidney scarring.

About 1 in 3 children who develop a UTI with a There is a high degree of fever. have VUR. In a 1999 study of 2,000 newborns, about 1 percent had VUR. However, this research is older and additional study is needed to obtain more recent data.

The main concern of VUR is the development of infections. The treatment aims to reduce the risk of these problems.

VUR is graded on a scale of 1 to 5, with grade 1 being the least serious and grade 5 being the most serious.

Active surveillance

Children often outgrow VUR and don’t require treatment. About 80 percent of cases of grade 1 or 2 VUR and 50 percent of cases of grade 3 VUR resolve without treatment, according to a 2017 research review. The average age for it to go away is 5 or 6.


“A low dose of antibiotics may be recommended by your child’s doctor.”

Currently, the American Urological Association (AUA) recommends continuous antibiotic therapy for children younger than age 1 who have a history of UTIs or have grade 3 to 5 VUR without a history of UTIs.

Continuous antibiotic therapy may be considered for children under age 1 who have no history of UTIs or grade 1 VUR.

The AUA recommends continuous antibiotic therapy for children with a history of UTIs. When a UTI develops, it is advisable to wait with the initiation of antibiotic therapy.

Surgery and other treatments

If a child has high grade VUR or is scarred by it, healthcare professionals may consider surgery.

“A procedure called a ureteral reimplant is recommended by your child’s doctor. The surgery changes the way the bladder connects to the ureter.”

A doctor may recommend a procedure where a small amount of gel is injected into the bladder. The gel makes a bulge in the wall of your bladder.

Doctors may consider circumcision for uncircumcised male infants younger than 1, according to the AUA.

“If your child can’t properly empty their bladder, a tube called a urinary catheter may be used.”

If your child develops a UTI, it is important to visit their doctor. These infections are usually treated with antibiotics, but need a prescription.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children receive a renal (kidney) and bladder ultrasound after they have their first UTI with a There is a high degree of fever..

VUR is sometimes found before birth on a sonogram or ultrasound, but it’s most often diagnosed when children are 2 to 3 years old.

A type of X-ray called a voiding cystourethrogram can help diagnose VUR. This test takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

During the test, there was a person.

  1. A healthcare professional will put a tube in your child.
  2. “They will inject a dye through the tube to make your child’s bladder full.”
  3. Your child will urinate.
  4. The healthcare professional will take X-ray images of the bladder to see if the dye enters one or both of the kidneys.

A urine test can be used to screen for signs of white blood cells and bacteria that suggest a UTI.

“You can take steps to maximize your child’s bladder health, even though you can’t prevent VUR.”

“Your child’s doctor can answer any questions you have. Some questions you may want to ask.”

  • How long will my child be hospitalized?
  • Is medical treatment necessary?
  • Should my child be taking antibiotics?
  • Will my child need surgery?
  • Which treatment is the best?
  • Will this cause my child pain?
  • How often should I check in?

“VUR is a condition in which urine goes into the ureters. It can put your child at risk of infections, but it doesn’t cause symptoms.”

“Children often outgrow VUR, and mild cases don’t need treatment. More serious cases may need surgery.”

A healthcare professional can help you decide on the best treatment option.