Children's Hospital Colorado

Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR)

What is vesicoureteral reflux (VUR)?

Urine normally flows from the kidneys, down through the ureters and into the bladder, where it is stored until urination occurs. The ureters normally have a one-way flap valve to prevent urine from traveling in both directions. During normal urination, the bladder muscle contracts and the sphincter muscle relaxes (this is the control mechanism), allowing the urine to leave the bladder through the urethra. Vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) is a condition in which the urine flows backward from the bladder to the kidneys, through one or both ureters.

This illustration shows vesicoureteral reflux, which is the backflow of urine from the bladder to the kidneys through the ureters.

If your child has recently been treated for urinary tract infections, especially infections associated with fever, seek the advice of your provider.

What causes VUR in kids?

In many children, VUR seems to be inherited. If a mother has been treated for VUR, as many as 50% of her children may also have it. VUR cannot be prevented, but most infections that result from VUR can be.

Who gets VUR?

Approximately 1% of healthy children have reflux. About 75% of children with VUR are girls. It is usually diagnosed around 2 to 3 years of age, but it can be discovered at any time.

Get to know our pediatric experts.

Kyle Rove, MD

Kyle Rove, MD

Urology - Pediatric, Urology

Duncan Wilcox, MD

Duncan Wilcox, MD

Urology - Pediatric

John Colby, PA-C

John Colby, PA-C

Physician Assistant