What is a ureterocele?

A ureterocele is a birth defect that affects the kidney, ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), and bladder. A ureterocele blocks the flow of urine resulting in swelling at the bottom of one of the ureters. Blockage that cannot be resolved and possible infection can damage the kidneys.

Who can get a ureterocele?

Ureteroceles occur in about 1 of every 500 to 1000 births and are more common in girls. They are also more common in people with a duplex kidney, or a kidney that has two ureters that drain into the bladder. This is also called a duplicated collecting system. A typical kidney has only one ureter. Ninety percent of girls with ureteroceles have a duplex kidney. In people with a duplex kidney, a ureterocele occurs in the ureter that drains the upper part of the kidney.

What causes a ureterocele?

A ureterocele occurs during the prenatal period when the ends of ureters that enter the bladder don’t develop properly.

What are the symptoms of a ureterocele?

Ureteroceles often do not have any symptoms, unless the condition has resulted in a urinary tract infection (UTI). Other symptoms of a ureterocele include:

  • Painful urination
  • Bad-smelling urine
  • Pain in the abdominal area
  • Blood in the urine
  • Fever
  • Urinating often
  • Burning feeing while urinating
  • A lump in the abdomen
  • Urinary incontinence (inability to hold urine)
  • Not being able to empty the bladder

If you notice any of these symptoms in your child, you should seek the advice of his or her doctor.

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