Hydronephrosis is a condition in which a kidney is swollen due to the accumulation of urine inside it. This occurs most commonly due to a blockage of the tube (the ureter) that collects urine from the kidney and brings it to the bladder. Common causes are kidney stones, scar tissue, tumor, urinary tract inflammation or infection and prostate enlargement. In most cases, the treatment of hydronephrosis is to treat its cause. The consequences of leaving hydronephrosis untreated depends on its cause and whether one or both kidneys are affected. A small kidney stone affecting one kidney, for example, may pass on its own, requiring no specific treatment. However, when hydronephrosis doesn’t resolve on its own, treatment is recommended because if left untreated kidney damage may occur; if both kidneys are affected, dialysis or kidney transplant may become necessary. In addition, the condition causing the blockage (such as a tumor or infection) may cause complications if not treated.
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