Wednesday, December 11, 2013

UPJ Obstruction - not the best news, but not the worst news either

So, what is a UPJ obstruction?

The technical term for it is Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction. It is a blockage at the point where part of the kidney attaches to one of the tubes to the bladder (ureters). This blocks the flow of urine out of the kidney.

Our daughter has a narrowing of the ureter tube and because her symptoms are intermittent, it most likely kinks up on itself to completely block off the kidney for a period of time. This explains her excruciating back pain and the mass (which is her kidney and tube enlarging) that can be felt when she has an episode.  

She did not have the typical urinary tract infections associated with this. I don't think she's ever had one of those. Every test she has ever had run for urinary tract infection came back clean. She did not have blood in her urine (that we could ever tell). She also didn't have kidney stones. What she did have was severe localized abdominal pain which moved more to the back as it progressed and a palpable mass appeared accompanied by vomiting...LOTS and lots of vomiting. She couldn't keep anything down. She cried all day long and scrunched up into a little ball. She'd drift in and out of sleep and in some of her most severe cases, her lips would turn a blue or purplish color. This typically lasts an entire day and night. Can you imagine an entire day and night of feeling like your kidney was about to burst open?!?! Then, just as quickly as it comes on, it goes away just as if it was never there. 

The majority of these birth defects are found while the child is still in the womb. Hers was not diagnosed. Even then, some of these require no intervention and correct on their own. Hers got worse. Our daughter is 9 years old now and has been suffering with this noticeably for the past few years.

Anyway, more can be found about it here.

It was diagnosed with a simple ultrasound. A simple ultrasound!!!! I had asked other doctors for ultrasounds of this area before, but most passed us off and told us it was just constipation...including the ER at the hospital. I wish we were more persistent then like we are now. 

So, what's next?

We are researching pediatric urologists today and will make an appointment with one tomorrow. She will have a full UPJ evaluation. Based on all of those tests and findings, we will determine what to do next. With all the research I have done, she will most likely need surgery to correct the problem. We hope there has not been any permanent damage to her kidney so far and we want to get this sorted out asap because, left untreated, most people experience kidney failure as their condition worsens.

UPJ obstruction...that's our answer and it all adds up. It's not the best news, but it's not the worst news either. 


  1. Pauline,
    I can't imagine a child going through all of that pain! I know it was hard for her, and I imagine it was hard on you, to watch.
    I hope you can find some help for her. It's good that you're sharing the symptoms, just in case anyone else is experiencing
    anything like this.

  2. Thanks, we have an appointment this Friday. That's the number one thing all the nurses and docs asked when she was in the ER this past Saturday...and she's never had a urinary tract infection? So glad God protected her from that part of it :)


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