What is Hydronephrosis?

Swelling or inflammation in one or both the kidneys is known as hydronephrosis. Kidneys are the bean shaped organs located in the abdomen. Their function is to filter out waste products from the blood and produce urine. Each kidney is made up of two parts: one parts performs the function of filtering the blood and removing excess salt and water present. The other part collects the urine.

When a person has hydronephrosis, too much urine is collected in that part of the kidney which performs the function of collecting urine. The excess urine results in swelling of that part and makes it larger than the usual.


Usually, patients suffering from hydronephrosis show less or no symptoms, especially if the formation of blockage over the time is slow. Although, some patients show severe symptoms that include:

  • Acute pain in the abdomen or flank in the body.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Painful and difficult urination.
  • Frequent urge to urinate.
  • Urgent need to urinate.
  • Infection in the urinary tract.
  • Fever.



There are many factors that can also result in hydronephrosis. Some of them are:

  • Stone in the kidneys.
  • Congenital blockage (a defect that is present since birth).
  • Blood clots.
  • Scarred tissues (from a previous injury or surgery).
  • Tumours or cancer (bladder, prostate or cervical).
  • Benign prostate hyperplasia (enlarged prostate gland).
  • Due to pregnancy.
  • Infection in the urinary tract (some other defect that results in swelling of the urinary tract).



Some common risks of hydronephrosis are:

  • Kidney atrophy.
  • Urinary tract infection.
  • Large hydronephrosis.
  • Kidney stones.



Hydronephrosis cannot be treated. However, immediate treatment of the conditions that cause hydronephrosis reduces the threat of the disease.

How is it diagnosed?

The doctor will enquire about the symptoms and family history of the disease. Tests will also be performed to evaluate the cause of the disorder and to get an idea of how serious the condition is. ...

How is it treated?

The treatment for hydronephrosis varies with the condition and severity of the patient. Some of the common treatment methods include:


  • Inserting a ureteral stent

    A stent is a thin tube that allows the ureter to drain into the bladder.

  • Inserting a nephrostomy tube

    It is a tube that lets the blocked urine drain out through the back of the body.

  • Antibiotics

    Antibiotics can be suggested to control the infection that has occurred. If hydronephrosis is because of the BPH, then surgical removal of the prostate is done.

  • Sound waves

    Sound waves are used by a machine to break down the stones into small pieces.

  • Surgery

    A surgery can be performed to remove the stones from the kidneys. Ureteroscopy, a procedure that breaks or removes the stones.

When do I contact the doctor?

Consult a doctor immediately, if you are undergoing severe pain and is encountering blood in urine.

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