Hydronephrosis develops when there swelling in the kidney due to an accumulation of urine. The kidney is unable to excrete urine to the bladder because there is an blockage. This can affect either one or in both of the kidneys.
The urinary tract is made up of four separate parts, the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and urethra. The primary purpose of the urinary tract is to excrete waste and excess fluid out from the body. There is urine when the kidneys are functioning normally to filter blood and remove excess waste and fluid. The renal pelvis collects urine and it goes down the ureter tube and enters the bladder. Eventually, the bladder gets filled with urine which exits from the body through the urethra. when there is too much urine, it forms a build up when there is an obstruction. This might lead to an overflow, or it experiences a reflux which can cause swelling in the renal pelvis.
Hydrophrenosis might not show any signs or symptoms. The main symptom is pain, either on the sides and back (commonly known as flank pain), groin and abdomen. Alternative signs or symptoms involves pain while urinating. There may be an increased urge to go to the toilet to urinate and incontinence. Additionally, you may feel nauseous and a fever might appear. All of these depends on the condition and severity of the obstruction.
Hydronephrosis is commonly affected by underlying illness or risk factor. The main causes for Hydronephrosis includes:
- Kidney stone
- Congenital blockage (a defect that is present during birth)
- Blood clot
- Scarring of tissue (from injury or previous surgery)
- Tumour or cancer (affects areas of organs in the bladder, cervix, colon, or prostates)
- Enlarged prostate (noncancerous)
- Urinary tract infection (or alternative diseases that can lead up to inflammation of the urinary tract)
These signs and symptoms may include:
- A big lump in the stomach area
- Pain that is caused by an enlarged kidney due to swelling
If these symptoms show, it is a sign that the kidneys are severely weakened. The other unaffacted kidney may still function well.
An ultrasound is usually used a diagnostic tool to aid in assessing the condition of your kidneys. Sound waves are used to produce a visual imagery of the kidney organs. Your doctor will then determine a diagnosis with an x-ray, computerized tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This may include a cystoscopy, that involves a lengthy tube with a light and camera at the tip (cytoscope) which helps provide a clearer look inside the bladder and urethra.
Urina and blood examination can also show the condition of kidney function. Your doctor will be able to tell whether the cause might be from a kidney stone, infection, or any others explanation.
Hydronephrosis is generally treated by determining the underlying disease or cause, for instance kidney stone or infection. Certain cases would not require any surgery and antibiotics can be sufficient. If there is a kidney stone, it can pass through on its own. For chronic cases, surgery for removal will be necessary.
If there is severe obstruction and chronic hydronephrosis, excess urine will have to be removed by involving a catheter to drain it out from the bladder. Another method requires a nephrostomy tube which drains the urine from the kidney. To avoid progression of the condition, it's best to get early detection for immediate treatment.
Kidney failure can occur in the long run if left untreated and a dialysis might be needed or a kidney transplant.