Munson Health
Hydronephrosis -- Child

Back to Document

by LaRusso L


Hydronephrosis is caused by urinary tract problems that makes it difficult for urine to leave the kidneys. Urine may be slowed or blocked by:
Kidney, Ureter, Bladder, and Kidney Stone
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
Other conditions that may cause problems with urine flow include:
  • Reflux—urine to flows back into the kidneys from the bladder
  • Abnormal bladder function due to problems with the nerves
In most cases, the child is born with one of these conditions that affect the urinary tract. For some, the condition develops later on.


The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor may be able to feel the swollen kidney during the physical exam. The diagnosis may be confirmed with images of the kidneys. Images may be taken with:
  • Ultrasound —may be done before birth
  • Voiding cystourethrogram—x-rays of the bladder and urethra taken during urination
    • Note: This test is not done routinely in children aged 2-24 months.
Urine and blood tests may also be done to look for any changes in kidney function.
Other tests may be done to look for the cause of the hydronephrosis. This may include:


American Kidney Fund

National Kidney Foundation



BC Children’s Hospital

The Kidney Foundation of Canada



Hydronephrosis. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: Accessed June 25, 2013.

Hydronephrosis. University of California Davis Health System website. Available at: Accessed June 25, 2013.

Hydronephrosis. University of California San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital website. Available at: Accessed June 25, 2013.

4/1/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance Choosing wisely. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated March 26, 2014. Accessed April 1, 2014.


Revision Information