Hydronephrosis, inflamed kidneys, or renal Edema, is a urological condition where the urinary catheter system of the kidney is dilated.
Hydronephrosis is not a disease, but it can be caused by conditions that affect the kidney and the urinary tract.
If left untreated, the pressure of accumulated urine that flows typically easily through the urinary tract can cause pain, inflammation, and permanent damage to the kidneys.
It is essential to seek help if you experience this condition since untreated hydronephrosis can lead to permanent loss of kidney function, a life-threatening situation.
Renal Edema can be unilateral, involving a kidney, or bilateral, which involves both. It is closely related to the inflammation of the urethra and often coincides with or causes this condition.
The symptoms will vary depending on how long you have had the blockage, but it is likely to include some or all of the following symptoms:
- Sensitivity or pain in the side of the abdomen or torso.
- Nausea and vomiting.
For women, one of the most common symptoms of an inflammation of the kidneys or renal Edema is a urinary tract infection.
The common symptoms of a urinary infection, in addition to frequent and painful urination, also include:
- Cloudy urine.
- Blood in the urine.
- Back pain.
Hydronephrosis or renal edema, and urinary tract infections, as well, are severe conditions that can lead to other complications, such as kidney infections or blood poisoning, if left untreated.
Causes of Kidney Edema
One of the most common causes of renal Edema is obstruction of the ureter that connects the kidney to the bladder. A kidney stone is often the cause of this blockage, but it could also be caused by scarring and blood clots.
Regardless of the underlying cause, blocking results in urine not being able to drain out of the kidney and accumulate inside it.
Other common causes of hydronephrosis include:
- Tumors close to or in the ureter.
- Congenital narrowing of the ureter.
- A lesion in the kidney or ureter, especially one that affects the ureteropelvic junction (PJU) that connects the ureter of the kidney.
- The obstruction of the bladder.
Evaluation and Diagnosis
The diagnosis should be made as soon as possible; it is essential to avoid permanent kidney damage that could have devastating and lasting effects.
Your doctor will start with a detailed physical examination and complete medical history, along with your current medications.
Diagnostic tests to detect renal Edema are usually performed using ultrasound technology since it is a painless procedure for the patient and allows an accurate image of the kidney to see swelling.
CT scans are also helpful in obtaining a visual image of the affected organs and the urinary tract.
If indicated, you may have a nuclear renal scan that allows the doctor to assess the amount of obstruction better.
In this procedure, an injection of a nuclear isotope occurs in the bloodstream. A specialized camera outside the body tracks the isotope through the kidneys and bladder to determine the function of the kidney and the flow of urine.
Treatment of Renal Edema
The hydronephrosis treatment will focus on removing what is causing the blockage so that the urine can flow freely again and the kidneys can achieve maximum function.