Urinary Tract Obstruction
The kidneys, which produce urine, are two small organs located behind the abdomen on each side of the spine. The kidneys remove toxic by-products and excess fluids from the body to help maintain a critical balance of salt, potassium and acid. When some obstructions occur, there may be no symptoms. Some people discover they have a blockage during tests for other reasons. If symptoms are present, they may include abdominal pain or changes in urination. Surgery to remove a blockage is known as pyeloplasty. For more details on the common types of surgery for urinary tract blockages, see the “Surgical Options” section that follows. Common kidney disorders include:
Urinary Obstruction: Obstructions can occur anywhere in the urinary tract. A urinary blockage can cause serious side effects such as infections and kidney stones. If left untreated, blockages can cause chronic pain and damage to the kidney.
Blockage of the Ureter: Ureters are tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Normally, a single ureter drains a single kidney, but sometimes there may be two ureters draining one kidney. Blockages can occur in the ureters for many reasons, such as scar tissue from kidney stones, prior surgery, or from being squeezed by other nearby diseased organs. It is important to talk to a doctor about the various causes and conditions that can affect the ureters before deciding on a treatment.
UPJ Obstruction (Pediatric & Adult): This condition refers to an obstruction where the ureter joins the renal pelvis (ureteropelvic junction or UPJ). In children, this is the most common cause of obstruction in the urinary tract, but it may not be found until adulthood. The UPJ is the junction where the funnel that drains urine from the kidney meets the ureter (tube that carries urine down to the bladder). With UPJ obstruction, the blockage is only partial. Urine is able to drain from the kidney, unless the kidney produces more urine than what can drain from the renal pelvis into the ureter. This will cause urine to accumulate in the kidney; the resulting “stretching” of the kidney can cause pain.