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Understanding Hydronephrosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Home > Blogs > Understanding Hydronephrosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Understanding Hydronephrosis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options

Renal Sciences | by Dr. Amlan Chakraborty | Published on 17/04/2024


Did you know that one in one hundred people suffer from hydronephrosis, according to statistics? That's correct, a common kidney condition is identified as hydronephrosis. Imagine your kidneys as the protectors of equilibrium, constantly eliminating waste and preserving harmony within. But what happens when these essential organs run into problems along their path? The process of hydronephrosis reveals itself as a disrupter, throwing off this delicate balance. Thus, learning more about this condition is important to prevent complications. 

If you suspect you might have hydronephrosis, then book your appointment with the best urologists in Kolkata at The Calcutta Medical Research Institute. They have experienced and skilled healthcare professionals including state-of-the-art technological equipment. Hence, they ensure that they offer the right treatment solutions for your condition.

In this blog, we will delve into the complexities of this condition and unravel them with clarity. We will explore the field of hydronephrosis, where the difficulties of contemporary medicine collide with the complex mechanisms of the human body. 

Please note that this write-up is for informational purposes only and we do not construe the doctor’s consultation in any way.

What is hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis, a medical condition determined by urine buildup in one or both kidneys, causes swelling in these organs. This occurs usually when kidneys fail to effectively discharge urine into the bladder. Symptoms of the condition encompass urinary tract infections, flank pain, and increased urination frequency. If left untreated, severe cases may culminate in kidney damage or failure. Diagnostic procedures such as CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds are commonly involved to envisage the kidneys and identify blockages.

Treatment depends on the condition's severity and root cause. It may involve antibiotics for infections or analgesics for pain management. Surgical intervention or stent insertion may be necessary in certain instances to restore normal urine flow.

What are hydronephrosis symptoms?

Hydronephrosis causes the kidneys to swell as a result of pee accumulation. This buildup leads to several hydronephrosis symptoms such as: 

  • Flank pain: Often identified as a dull ache, back or flank pain is a common sign of hydronephrosis.
  • Urgency or frequent urination: People who have hydronephrosis may feel the need to urinate more frequently or with greater urgency.
  • Hematuria: Also known as the presence of blood in the urine is a sign of hydronephrosis
  • Vomiting, nausea, or edema in the abdomen: These symptoms can occur due to kidney swelling and may point to a more serious case of hydronephrosis.
  • Difficulty peeing: Urinary tract obstructions can cause problems passing pee and pain or discomfort when urinating. This can result in difficulties urinating.

What are hydronephrosis causes?

The following are a few underlying hydronephrosis causes:

  • Kidney stones: Hydronephrosis can result from kidney stones that obstruct the urine's flow.
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs): UTIs cause blockages and inflammation in the urinary tract, which can accumulate urine.
  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH): This causes an enlarged prostate in men and compresses the urethra, resulting in urine retention and hydronephrosis.
  • Congenital abnormalities of the urinary tract: Hydronephrosis is a condition caused by birth defects that interfere with normal urine flow.
  • Complications of pregnancy: The growing uterus can put pressure on the urinary tract, causing pregnant females to develop hydronephrosis.
  • Pelvic tumors or masses: Unusual growths close to the urinary tract can block urine flow and cause hydronephrosis.

How is hydronephrosis diagnosed?

A combination of physical examination, medical history review, and diagnostic testing, such as the following, are usually involved to diagnose hydronephrosis. Here are certain steps involved by the best nephrologist in Kolkata to confirm the diagnosis of hydronephrosis:

  • Imaging tests: : Ultrasound, CT, and MRI scans are examples of imaging tests that can be used to visualize the kidneys and urinary tract and detect any blockages or abnormalities.
  • Urinalysis: By analyzing urine samples, one can find out if there is blood, an infection, or other irregularities that point to hydronephrosis.
  • Urodynamic studies: These examinations assess urine flow and bladder function and offer important insights into the underlying causes of hydronephrosis.
  • Blood tests: To evaluate kidney function and spot any related issues, blood samples may be examined.

What are the options available for hydronephrosis treatment?

Depending on the underlying cause and severity of the condition, treatment options for hydronephrosis include:

  • Observation with routine monitoring: Medical professionals may choose to use a watchful waiting strategy with recurrent evaluations in mild cases of hydronephrosis that result in few symptoms or complications.
  • Medications: A doctor prescribes certain drugs to treat underlying illnesses that cause hydronephrosis, such as kidney stones or UTIs, or to relieve symptoms like discomfort.
  • Placement of a ureteric stent: To bypass blockages and improve urine flow, a stent may be put into the ureter. This procedure can relieve symptoms and stop further kidney damage.
  • Surgical procedures: To treat underlying conditions that contribute to hydronephrosis, remove obstructions, or repair structural abnormalities, surgery may be required. 
  • Lifestyle changes: Changing habits like alcohol, food, drink, and amount of physical activity helps to control symptoms and lower the chance of hydronephrosis-related problems.


To sum up, comprehending hydronephrosis is essential for prompt diagnosis and efficient treatment. People can avoid complications and maintain kidney function by promptly seeking medical attention upon recognition of the condition's symptoms and causes. There are several treatment options available, including medication, minimally invasive procedures, and lifestyle modifications. To ensure the best possible outcome, keep in mind that early detection and intervention are essential. Hence, make sure to pay attention to your health, and don't overlook the need to consult a doctor if you see any symptoms of hydronephrosis. 

Faq -


Is hydronephrosis serious?

If hydronephrosis is not treated, it can lead to irreversible kidney damage, which is a dangerous condition. Kidney failure occurs in an extremely rare instance; however, it usually affects one kidney, with the other kidney being able to carry out the necessary functions. 

Is hydronephrosis a disability?

Hydronephrosis is not a cause of disability on its own; however, it becomes a disability when it keeps the patient from functioning for more than a year or is identified as serious enough to result in kidney failure.

Is hydronephrosis hereditary?

Although there is no family history of hydronephrosis, there are hereditary components to the condition. These kinds of anomalies are frequently found during the mother's prenatal ultrasound examination.