Your urinary system includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. All play a role in removing waste products from your body.
The kidneys, a pair of bean-shaped organs at the back of your upper abdomen, filter waste, water and electrolytes — minerals, such as sodium, calcium and potassium, that help maintain the balance of fluids in your body — from your blood.
Tubes called ureters carry urine from your kidneys down to your bladder, where it is stored until it exits the body through another tube (the urethra) during urination.
Vesicoureteral reflux can develop in two forms, primary and secondary:
June 20, 2014
Primary vesicoureteral reflux. The cause of this more common form is a defect that's present before birth (congenital). The defect is in the functional valve between the bladder and a ureter that normally closes to prevent urine from flowing backward.
As your child grows, the ureters lengthen and straighten, which may improve valve function and eventually resolve the reflux. This type of vesicoureteral reflux tends to run in families, which indicates that it may be genetic, but the exact cause of the defect is unknown.
- Secondary vesicoureteral reflux. The cause of this form is a blockage or malfunction in the urinary system. The blockage most commonly results from recurrent UTIs, which may cause swelling of a ureter.
- Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed April 1, 2014.
- Vesicoureteral reflux. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/Kudiseases/pubs/vesicoureteralreflux/. Accessed April 1, 2014.
- Vesicoureteral reflux. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Health Care Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/congenital_renal_and_genitourinary_anomalies/vesicoureteral_reflux.html. Accessed April 1, 2014.
- Urinary tract infection in adults. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse. http://www.kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/utiadult/. Accessed April 1, 2014.
- Tekgul S, et al. EAU guidelines on vesicoureteral reflux in children. European Urology. 2012;62:534.
- Fever and your child. American Academy of Pediatrics. http://patiented.aap.org/content2.aspx?aid=5107. Accessed April 6, 2014.
- McLorie G, et al. Management of vesicoureteral reflux. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 3, 2014.
- Castle EP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 6, 2014.
- Schmitt BD. Pediatric Telephone Protocols. 14th ed. Elk Grove Village, Ill.: American Academy of Pediatrics; 2013:120-124.
- McLorie G, et al. Presentation, diagnosis, and clinical course of vesicoureteral reflux. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 30, 2014.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.