A blocked urinary tract, also known as obstructive uropathy, occurs when there is a blockage in the ureters, urethra or bladder that inhibits the flow of urine from the kidneys to the bladder. The blockage can be partial or complete, and may affect one or both sides. If left untreated, obstructive uropathy can cause kidney stones, infection, and kidney damage.
Obstructive uropathy is caused by a blockage anywhere along your urinary tract – from the kidneys (where urine is produced) through the ureters (the tubes that carry urine to the bladder) to the bladder and urethra (where urine is stored and released). A blockage in the urinary tract, whether partial or complete, can increase the pressure inside the affected areas and result in swelling or damage to your kidneys.
Depending on the severity of the issue, a blockage in your urinary tract inhibits or stops the flow of urine through the ureters, bladder or urethra. If the urine is prevented from moving forward in its usual path, it refluxes, flowing backward into your kidneys.
When your urinary tract is functioning normally, urine flows from the kidneys at a low pressure. If there is a blockage that causes the urine to reflux, it increases the pressure on the kidneys and causes them to swell. This is known as hydronephrosis. If left untreated, the constant increased pressure on the kidneys can damage them, causing a loss in function. Other issues associated with obstructive uropathy include the higher likelihood of developing kidney stones, as well as increased risk for a urinary tract infection because bacteria is not being flushed out. In cases where obstructive uropathy affects both kidneys, lack of treatment can ultimately result in renal failure.
Obstructive uropathy may affect five out of every 1,000 people, and can be caused by several factors. The most common causes include:
Because benign prostatic hyperplasia is a condition that is common in older men, urinary tract obstruction is found to be more common among men than women.
Symptoms of obstructive uropathy depend on the cause of the issue, location of the blockage, and how long it has been there. If the blockage is acute (happens suddenly) symptoms are usually more common. If the blockage is chronic (develops over time), symptoms may be intermittent or nonexistent. The level of pain and area where it occurs varies, and also depends on whether only one or both of the kidneys are affected. Some of the symptoms of a blocked urinary tract include:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time for you to see a doctor to make sure that you are not suffering from a urinary tract blockage.
It is important that you are diagnosed and treated as early as possible, to avoid potentially serious kidney damage. If your doctor suspects a blockage in your urinary tract, they may order one or more of the following tests:
The main goal when treating obstructive uropathy is to remove the obstruction from the affected area. Depending on the location and severity of the blockage, your doctor may opt for surgery to remove the obstruction or place a stent in the blocked kidney or ureter to open up the pathway. In some cases, medication may also be a viable option.
If you have been diagnosed with obstructive uropathy, call IVC today at 503-612-0498 to schedule an appointment with one of our team of experienced and professional interventional radiologists.
This is for Dr. Pfister. I just wanted to thank him for all the time he spent with us the other week. In all the years I’ve had my vascular problems I’ve never had a doctor really sit down and explain to me the intricacies of what might be going on. I have a lot to think about…but just wanted to say thanks for being so nice and answering our many questions!L.H.
A fantastic group of wonderful people. The procedure was very smooth. When they were putting the port in I felt like I was getting a great massage!! Thank you all!S.C.
Charley was instrumental in getting me scheduled in quickly to get my PICC line removed. She actually worked until late in the day to get the information from my referring doctor’s office. It is nice to know great people like Charley still exist in this world!K.S.
I had my blood clot filter removed on 2/21/18. I was very apprehensive, yet EVERYONE in Dr. Pfister’s office and surgical team helped to make me comfortable. I am extremely claustrophobic so laying down or having something covering my face creates anxiety. Mary Anne listened to my concerns and made sure I was made comfortable and did not feel anxious. The surgical team was amazing, they explained everything thoroughly. Dr. Pfister came in after the procedure to review what he did and discuss any follow up that might be required. I so appreciate the time and attention he gives me as his patient. This was a positive experience.G.H.
110% Thank You! Best unit so far in my cancer treatment. Thanks Dr. LoveAnonymous
If you ever need an Interventional Radiologist for a child I realize it is serious business. I’ve seen Dr. Love go and save a child’s kidney without missing a beat. I could recommend no one better for myself, or for people I love. I think he is a little cool at the bedside, but that’s OK Dr. Love, stay frosty! If you can’t see Dr. Love, one of the other professionals at IVC will be able to help you. Ashley, the dynamite scheduler and one of the other surgeons at IVC will care for you. I’ve had multiple surgeries with this practice over the past several years. Never a hiccup!S. R. – Portland, OR
Great experience, doctor was thorough in explaining what was going to happen. The nurses were very attentive and made sure I was comfortable and my needs were met. I would recommend this office for any related procedure.Anonymous
Everything went very smoothly. Joe enjoyed the music. Very friendly staff! Good Experience!J. & E.
All staff was courteous and efficient. Good experience.J. J.
Dr. Pfister, thanks so much for your excellent care, removing my chemo port earlier this week. With all your experience and your fine touch, I’m confident the scar will be nearly invisible. Your team, from beginning to end, did a super job with me. Please extend my gratitude to Jennifer, Mary Anne, Todd and Charley. I’ve got a whole lot of living left to do. I appreciate all of you helping me do it!M. F.
Dr. Pfister, thank you for all of the attention you gave to me. I learned lots from our discussion – hearing you speak of ultimate healing was enough to encourage me to do all I can to strengthen those muscles.S. O.
The entire office is one of the most professional, helpful and informative medical offices I have dealt with (and I have dealt with many). Kudos to Jennifer, Henry, and Charley!K. C.
Great people. Great place. Good surgery.G. G.
Patty, Mary Anne and the whole staff was amazing! Best experience I’ve had since being diagnosed with cancer. From start to finish, was great. Thanks.M
My brother came into Legacy Meridian Park, had a stroke. Dr. Bauer came in immediately, in his work jeans and shirt. He worked with Neurologist Dr. Burbank, developed a plan and took my brother into a procedure where they removed the clot from his head! Very down to earth doctor, explained procedure to family, worked with sense of urgency.J. P.
I want to comment regarding Dr. Bauer of how he was thorough explaining my CT Biopsy and showing me how on the computer he would get the tissue needed. In all the years of several surgeries I have never felt better going in to have a procedure done. His bedside manner was incredible. I wish all doctors were like Dr. Bauer. Thank you for preparing and relaxing me prior to the biopsy.R.S. Molalla OR
Everyone did a superb job taking care of me and doing the procedure. Thank You AllK.S.
Dr. Bauer genuinely cares about his patients and strives to make sure they understand every aspect of their treatment.A. L.
Dr. Bauer, our family wants you to know how thankful we are to you for saving G.P.’s life and bringing him back to us in normal health. Thank you over and over you are the best!Family of G. P.