What Are The Most Common Causes Of Urinary Obstruction In Children?

What are the most common causes of urinary obstruction in children?

Urinary obstruction in children can be a concerning health issue that requires prompt attention. Urinary obstruction refers to a condition in which the normal flow of urine is impeded or blocked, leading to difficulty in urination. This blockage can occur at any point along the urinary tract, from the kidneys to the urethra, and may result from various causes, such as kidney stones, tumours, narrow tubes, or valves.

Causes of urinary obstruction in Children

Congenital Anomalies:

The most prevalent cause of urinary obstruction in children is congenital anomalies. These are structural abnormalities present at birth that can affect the urinary tract system. Common congenital anomalies leading to urinary obstruction include:

Posterior Urethral Valves :

One common issue is called posterior urethral valves (PUV), which mostly happen to baby boys. It’s when there are flaps in the tube that carry pee out, causing a blockage. If it is not fixed quickly, it can lead to serious problems.

Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction :

Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction (UPJO), which is a narrowing in the upper part of the tube connecting the kidney and bladder. Sometimes, surgery is needed to fix it.

Vesicoureteric Junction Obstruction (VUJO):

In this condition, there is narrowing at the lower end of the ureter (the tube that connects the kidneys to the bladder) and frequently requires surgical correction.

Vesicoureteral Reflux :

Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR), where pee goes backward from the bladder into the tubes and sometimes even reaches the kidneys. This can make it easier for infections to happen and may also cause problems with peeing. So, doctors keep an eye on these issues and might need to do things to help children’s pee better.

Diagnosis and symptoms:

Understanding the signs and symptoms of urinary obstruction in children is crucial for early detection. Parents should look out for:

Frequent urinary tract infections

Pain or discomfort during urination

Abdominal pain or swelling

Delayed or poor urinary stream

Unexplained fever

Diagnosis often involves imaging studies, such as ultrasounds and voiding cystourethrography, to visualize the urinary tract and identify potential obstructions. Renal scans like DMSA and EC scans also help in deciding on management.

Treatment of urinary obstruction in children

The approach to treating urinary obstruction in children varies based on the underlying cause. Some common interventions include:

Surgical Correction:

If there are blockages like posterior urethral valves or ureteropelvic junction obstruction, surgery may be needed to fix the problem and allow normal urine flow.


In cases of posterior urethral valves, medications may be prescribed to prevent urinary tract infections and manage the condition.

Monitoring and Follow-Up:

Regular check-ups and monitoring are essential to track the child’s progress post-treatment and address any potential complications.


Understanding the most common cause of urinary obstruction in children is crucial for early detection and effective management. If you suspect your child may be experiencing urinary issues, consult with a healthcare professional promptly for proper diagnosis and treatment.

For more detailed information and guidance on urinary obstruction in children, consult with a Pediatric Urologist.