Pronounced: VEH-sih-co-ya-REET-uh-rul REE-flux
by Sonja Lyons
Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is the backward flow of urine. It flows from the bladder back into the ureters or kidneys.
Anatomy of the Urinary System
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Urine flows down from the kidneys. It passes through tubes called ureters and into the bladder. This keeps urine moving one way. If there are problems, urine can flow back into the kidney.
Primary causes are a direct result of problems in the urinary system. Secondary causes result from causes that may block normal flow. These may involve:
Your risk is higher if you:
VUR doesn't cause problems in most people. In those that have symptoms, VUR may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. Your answers and a physical exam may point to VUR. You may also have:
VUR in adults doesn’t go away on its own. Care centers on treating the cause. This will also help lower the chances of scarring.
The doctor may give you medicines to treat:
If other methods don’t fix the problems, you may have surgery. This may involve:
To help lower your chances of VUR:
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Urology Care Foundation
The Kidney Foundation of Canada
Freidman AA, Hanna MK. Vesicoureteral reflux and the adult. In: Wood HM, Woods D, ed. Current Clinical Urology. Springer International Publishing;2015:173-205.
Mattoo TK. Vesicoureteral reflux and reflux nephropathy. Adv Chronic Kidney Dis. 2011;18(5):348-54.
Rollino C, D'Urso L, Beltrame G, Ferro M. Vesicoureteral reflux in adults. G Ital Nefrol. 2011;28(6):599-611.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 6/13/2018