Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Doctors usually discover vesicoureteral reflux as part of follow-up testing when an infant or young child is diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. If your child has signs and symptoms, such as pain or burning during urination or a persistent, unexplained fever, call your child's doctor.

Seek immediate care for an infant who:

  • Refuses several feedings in a row or eats poorly
  • Is lethargic or unusually difficult to rouse
  • Has loose or watery stools
  • Spits up large portions of multiple feedings or vomits forcefully after feedings

After evaluation, your child may be referred to a doctor who specializes in urinary tract conditions (urologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your child's doctor.

What you can do

  • Write down signs and symptoms your child has been experiencing, and for how long.
  • Write down your child's key medical information, including other recent health problems and the names of any prescription and over-the-counter medications that your child is taking. It will also help your doctor to know if any of your child's first-degree relatives — such as a parent or sibling — have been diagnosed with vesicoureteral reflux.
  • Write down the questions you want to be sure to ask your doctor.

For vesicoureteral reflux, some basic questions to ask your child's doctor include:

  • What is likely causing my child's signs and symptoms?
  • Is it a bladder or kidney infection?
  • Are there other possible causes for these symptoms?
  • What kinds of tests does my child need?
  • What is the likelihood that my child's condition will resolve without treatment?
  • What are the benefits and risks of watchful waiting in my child's case?
  • What are the benefits and risks of medications in my child's case?
  • What are the benefits and risks of surgery in my child's case?
  • Is my child at risk of complications from this condition?
  • How will you monitor my child's health over time?
  • What steps can I take to reduce my child's risk of future urinary tract infections?
  • Are my other children at increased risk of this condition?
  • Do you recommend that my child see a specialist?

Don't hesitate to ask questions that occur to you during your child's appointment. The best treatment option for vesicoureteral reflux — which can range from watchful waiting to surgery — often is not clear-cut. In order to arrive at a treatment decision that feels right to you and your child, it's important that you understand your child's condition and the benefits and risks of each available therapy.

What to expect from your doctor

Your child's doctor will perform a physical examination of your child. He or she is likely to ask you a number of questions as well. Being ready to answer them may reserve time to go over points you want to spend more time on. Your doctor may ask:

  • When did you first notice that your child was experiencing symptoms?
  • Have these symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your child's symptoms?
  • Does anything seem to improve these symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your child's symptoms?
  • Does anyone in your family have a history of vesicoureteral reflux?
  • Has your child had any growth problems?
  • What types of antibiotics has your child received for other infections, such as ear infections?
Jul. 16, 2011