Kidney Bilateral Reflux
The kidney's, bladder and ureters complete the urinary system. The kidney's filter extra fluid and the waster from our blood. This is turned into urine. When any part of this system isn't working correctly there's a chance you can get infections in the kidney's, bladder and sometimes the urinary track that expels the urine. In my case and 2 of my daughters we've suffered from all three. Our infections were caused by what is call Kidney Bilateral Reflux. That means, the ureters that go from the kidneys into the bladder were pushing the urine back into the kidneys. This creates bacteria which causes infections.
The following are conditions that may cause or contribute to Kidney Bilateral Reflux:
Family history of reflux -- this is the case of my daughters and myself
Physical abnormalities in the kidney's, this presents itself at birth.
Physical abnormalities in the bladder and the bladder opening that exerts the urine - this is present at birth.
Trauma or injury to the bladder.
Trauma to the kidney.
The reflux isn't detected unless a child presents with a unexplained high fever. Doctor's will run a blood test to check the white blood cell count. If it's high that indicates that there is an infection. They will then require a urine sample from the child for testing. If the results of the urinalysis confirms that there is an infection sulfa based medication is prescribed.
Other symptoms that may present themselves are high blood pressure, poor growth and in rare cases, kidney failure. There have been cases where someone never had an infections nor any of the symptoms until they went into kidney failure, requiring a kidney transplant. That is rare but has happened.
Following a kidney infection most physicians will arrange for testing to be completed so they can determine if there are any abnormalities present such as bilateral reflux.
One test is called a VCUG, voiding cystourethrogram, this shows how the urethra's and bladder work while the person is urinating. The person is catheterized, the bladder is filled with radiocontrast agent so the radiologist can see the contrast when the person is urinating. If the contrast begin to flow then goes back into the kidney the diagnosis of Kidney Bilateral Reflux. While the person continues to urinate the radiologist must then determine the grade of the reflux. This test will also indicate if either of the kidney has any damage caused by the reflux.
The grade goes from 1, being the lowest to 5 being the more severe. Once the diagnosis is made the doctor will sometimes prescribe a small dose of antibiotics to be taken on a daily basis in hopes of avoiding any further infections. Children will low grade, 1 to 2 reflux make out rather well and have no reoccurring infections. They tend to outgrow the reflux by the time they are 7 years old. Children with higher grade reflux, 3 to 5 will sometimes have repeat infections and some even require surgery to correct the problem. Once they've out grown it or have had surgery to correct the reflux they live a normal life with no ill side effects. Though, those who went undetected tend to have some damage and even after surgery still have infections from time to time.
In my case I went undetected until I was 10 years old. I had the surgery at 12 years old and it seemed to be a success to a point. Because of the longevity of the reflux prior to it's discovery the infections caused damage to my right kidney. It is smaller than my left causing the left kidney to work harder. From time to time I will get infections, they get treated and I go on with life.
My oldest daughter had her first infection at a year old and her reflux was grade 5, causing multiple infections, fever averaging 105 to 106, scary stuff. They determined she needed the surgery because her body wouldn't be able to hold up with that high temp rate if the infections kept coming back. She had her surgery at 18 months and hasn't had any problems since then.
My youngest had 1 infection, was prescribed the standard medication then was kept on a dose a day until she was 6 years old and outgrew the reflux.
Here are some guidelines for all you moms with daughter. No bubble bath, they can cause infections, nothing but water in the bathtub. Cotton undies only, cotton allows the private area to breath and it doesn't hold bactria in like silk does, drink plenty of water and cranberry juice. There's something in cranberry juice that helps keep infections at bay and flush out the system.