What is hyrdonephrosis?

Hydronephrosis is the swelling of one kidney (unilateral) or the swelling of both kidneys (bilateral) due to the back up of urine. Common causes of hydronephrosis include kidney stones, ureteral strictures, and several other less common conditions which obstruct the ureter. Symptoms resulting from the swelling include flank/back pain, nausea, and vomiting, but some people may not experience any symptoms at all. If hydronephrosis is left untreated it could lead to serious kidney damage.


If you present with these symptoms your urologist will order imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or a CT scan, to evaluate the degree and cause of the hydronephrosis.


The treatment is cause specific but typically involves un-obstructing the kidney either with a urethral stent or a nephrostomy tube.