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Kidney Swelling In Your Child - Causes & Treatments (World Kidney Day)

Urvashi Shah
3 to 7 years

Created by Urvashi Shah
Updated on Oct 04, 2018

Kidney Swelling In Your Child Causes Treatments World Kidney Day
Reviewed by Expert panel

8th March is celebrated as World Kidney Day, which is a global awareness campaign to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys. Awareness about preventive behaviours, awareness about risk factors, and awareness about how to live with a kidney disease are the focal point of discussion this day. World Kidney Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

Did you know that kidney related diseases not only affect the elders but even children and infants? Shocking isn’t it? Thanks to technology, in recent years, better ultrasound machines have allowed the doctors to see a pregnant women’s baby's kidneys more clearly, thus, allowing them to detect different types of problems such as absence of one or both kidneys, abnormal position of a kidney, hydronephrosis (swelling of a kidney), fluid-filled cysts and tumours.

What Is Hydronephrosis?

Hydronephrosis, or kidney swelling in children is a condition, affecting about 1 in 100 babies, where urine overfills or backs up in to the kidney, causing the kidney to swell. Infants with hydronephrosis may be diagnosed before (prenatal) or after (postnatal) birth. Infants diagnoses prenatally, this condition tends to disappear after birth or soon after it. While those having moderate symptoms of this condition, kidneys are not affected to a large extent and the condition may resolve soon after delivery. This condition affects the drainage of urine from the urinary system, that is, kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. As the urinary system is impaired, it causes the urine to back up, thus, enabling the kidneys to swell. So, Hydronephrosis is caused by backing up of urine in to the system or due to the urine flowing backwards. This condition in a child can be mild, moderate or severe, depending up on how much the kidney is stretched and how much urinary flow is impaired.

Kidney Swelling Causes In Child-

Two types of problems cause Hydronephrosis. One is obstruction, where urine is physically prevented from draining out of the kidney, which can occur at any point in the urinary system from the kidney down to the urethra. The second cause being reflux wherein the urine flows back up to the kidney.


  • Reteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction:

    A blockage at the point where the kidney joins the ureter (the thin tube that carries urine to the bladder). A narrowing at the top of the ureter usually being the cause
  • Ureterovesical junction (UVJ) obstruction:

    A blockage at the point where the ureter joins the bladder
  • Posterior urethral valves (PUV):

    A congenital condition, found only in boys, in which there are abnormal flaps of tissue in the urethra, causing bladder obstruction
  • Ureterocele:

    A bulge in the ureter that can obstruct part of the kidney and sometimes the bladder
  • Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR):

    A backwash of urine that happens when the muscles at the junction of the ureter and bladder aren’t working properly and allow urine to flow back up toward the kidney with bladder filling or emptying

Other Causes of Hydronephrosis-

  • Ectopic ureter:

    A rare condition wherein a ureter doesn’t connect to the bladder in the normal location
  • Unknown: In more than half of the children who are prenatally diagnosed with Hydronephrosis, the condition resolves itself over the time and the cause is never known

Symptoms Of Kidney Disease In Children-

Most babies with kidney swelling show no symptoms. Older children having mild kidney swelling may not show any symptoms, while the condition can also disappear on its own. If a child has moderate or severe kidney swelling, the symptoms are:
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Pain in the side
  • Blood in the urine
An enlarged kidney in a child may lead to development of UTI. Symptoms of a urinary tract infection can include the following:
  • Strong urge to visit the bathroom
  • Pain while urinating
  • Cloudy urine
  • Back pain
  • Fever
  • Vomiting

Kidney Swelling Treatment

  1. The doctor will prescribe your child some low dosage antibiotics, which will not have much side effects. The kind of antibiotics will depend up on your child’s age, weight and allergies
  2. The antibiotics are used to prevent the Hydronephrosis from causing kidney infections. Once the X-ray is done, the doctor will determine for how long your child will need to continue with the antibiotics
  3. If the condition is severe in your child, the need for surgery can be estimated. Usually non-obstructive Hydronephrosis and grade I to III Hydronephrosis don't need surgery and resolve over time. Children with grade IV Hydronephrosis, which is the most severe, are the most likely to need surgery to prevent kidney damage and recurrent infection. The surgery to correct Hydronephrosis is called Pyeloplasty
  4. A new born’s kidney failure refers to temporary or permanent damage to the kidneys, resulting in loss of normal kidney function. Symptoms of acute renal failure include fever, rash, severe vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, abdominal pain, pale skin, swelling of tissues, inflammation of the eyes and so on. The treatment for this will depend up on your child’s age, overall health and medical history, the extent of the disease, your child’s tolerance for the medications and so on

So this World Kidney Day, let us join hands and address the various types of kidney related diseases and take the necessary precautions and treatments available.

Did you like the blog? Did you find it useful? Share your thoughts, ideas and feedbacks with us in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Mar 08, 2018

very useful information . thanks for sharing.

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| Mar 08, 2018

very useful information shared.

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| Mar 09, 2018

Thanks for sharing very useful indeed.

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| Oct 04, 2018


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| Oct 04, 2018


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| Oct 05, 2018


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| Aug 09, 2022

Mere baby ko b hydroneprosis hai left kidney mein abhi uska mcu scam hona hai. Bhagwan krye zaldi thik ho jaye wo other wise bahut tension hoti hai

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