|Back to article|
A ureterocele is a swelling at the bottom of one of the tubes (ureters) that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder. The swollen area can block urine flow.
A ureterocele is a birth defect.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
A ureterocele occurs in the lower part of the ureter, where the tube enters the bladder. The swollen area prevents urine from moving freely into the bladder. The urine collects in the ureter and stretches its walls, blowing it up like a water balloon.
A ureterocele can also cause urine to flow backward from the bladder to the kidney. This is called reflux.
Ureteroceles occur in about 1 in 500 to 1 in 4,000 people. Caucasians are most likely to be affected. Ureteroceles are equally common in left- and right-side ureters.
Signs and tests
Large ureteroceles are usually diagnosed earlier than smaller ones. A ureterocele may be discovered before the baby is born (during a pregnancy ultrasound).
Some people with ureteroceles do not know they have the condition. Often, the diagnosis is made later in life due to kidney stones or infection.
A urinalysis may reveal blood in the urine or signs of urinary tract infection.
The following tests may be performed:
Blood pressure may be high if there is kidney damage.
Antibiotics are usually given to prevent further infections until surgery can be done.
Surgery to repair the ureterocele usually cures the condition. Surgery involves making a cut into the ureterocele or removing the ureterocele and reattaching the ureter to the bladder. The type of surgery depends on your age, overall health and severity of the blockage.
The outcome varies. If the obstruction can be cured, the damage may be temporary. However, damage to the kidney may be permanent, especially if the condition doesn't go away.
Kidney failure is uncommon because the other kidney usually continues to work as normal.
Calling your health care provider
Call your health care provider if you have symptoms of ureterocele.
Peters CA, Schlussel RN, Mendelsohn C. Ectopic ureter, ureterocele, and ureteral anomalies. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 116.
Guay-Woodford LM. Hereditary nephropathies and developmental abnormalities of the urinary tract. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 130.
Reviewed by:David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorousstandards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information andservices. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorialpolicy, editorialprocess, and privacypolicy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch.)
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatmentof any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 2015 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication ordistribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.