Congenital urological anomalies (abnormalities) are birth defects involving the urological and genital systems (or genitourinary system). “Congenital” means they occur during fetal development or very early in infancy. These urinary tract defects can involve different parts of the genitourinary system as well as other organ systems.
Congenital urological anomalies (abnormalities) are birth defects involving the urological and genital systems (or genitourinary system). “Congenital” means they occur during fetal development or very early in infancy. These urinary tract defects can involve different parts of the genitourinary system as well as other organ systems, including the:
Congenital urological anomalies may be addressed in childhood. However, people born with urological disorders may experience problems associated with their conditions, or prior treatments, throughout adulthood.
If only one ureter and kidney are affected, it is called unilateral reflux. If both are affected, it is called bilateral reflux. VUR occurs more often in babies and young children, but older children and adults can also have it.
Healthcare professionals work with patients to address multiple complex personal and urological issues. Treatments may include medication, surgery or outpatient procedures, and counseling.
Depending on the condition, an interdisciplinary team of medical specialists will review the patient’s medical and surgical history and evaluate his or her present condition. The patient will be consulted to determine current and future requirements, with the aim of devising a plan to meet these specific needs. Because some congenital anomalies affect multiple organ systems, the team of specialists will be tailored to provide comprehensive care.
The prognosis will depend on the type and extent of their problems. Some patients will need to be monitored for complications throughout the rest of their lives. The transitional urological care team will work with patients to develop an individual plan that helps each patient to lead healthy and independent lives.
As patients grow older, they may face health and quality of life issues, such as urinary and bowel incontinence. They may experience problems with the appearance and function of their genital organs and fertility.
Depending on their type and severity, malformations of the urinary tract can result in frequent urinary tract infections and damage to the bladder, kidneys, and/or ureters. If there is severe damage to the kidneys, renal failure may occur. A patient may have to undergo dialysis treatments to filter the blood, or a kidney transplant may be necessary in some cases.
Urologic congenital anomalies may also result in social and psychological problems. Services are available to help provide support and make the transition to adolescence and adulthood less stressful.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/01/2017.
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