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Is Hydronephrosis Reversible?

About Hydronephrosis

Hydronephrosis is a pathological condition involving the renal system in which there is swelling and enlargement of the kidneys as a result of an obstruction between the kidney and the bladder which does not allow the urine to pass from the kidney through to the bladder for disposal. Normally one kidney is involved in cases of Hydronephrosis but in some rare cases both the kidneys may be involved. Hydronephrosis is not a primary medical condition but arises out of other conditions which cause obstruction of the urinary tract.

Under normal circumstances, urine flows from the kidneys through to the bladder with minimal pressure. However, in cases of Hydronephrosis, there is accumulation of urine in the urinary tract due to obstruction which causes the kidneys to start to swell and enlarge. This increases the pressure on the kidneys and ultimately as the disease progresses the kidneys become so enlarged that they start to exert pressure on the adjoining organs like the liver.

Ultimately, if the condition is left untreated there is permanent damage done to the kidneys and the affected individual may suffer from a renal failure as a result of Hydronephrosis.

Is Hydronephrosis Reversible?

Is Hydronephrosis Reversible?

The answer to this question is yes, Hydronephrosis can be reversed if the cause of the obstruction is detected and treated in the early stages. The function of the kidney starts to diminish as soon as there is development of Hydronephrosis. However, if the cause of the obstruction is treated and the swelling resolves then the there is minimal to no damage done to the kidneys and the condition can be reversed.

Studies estimate that normal functioning of the kidney can return up until six weeks after the onset of Hydronephrosis after which the chances of the kidney functioning normal start to diminish.

In situations where kidney function returns to normal after successful treatment of the swelling then it is termed as acute Hydronephrosis, while in cases where the kidney function does not return to normal even after the swelling resolves then it is termed as chronic Hydronephrosis.

In conclusion, effects of Hydronephrosis can be reversed for up to six weeks after the onset of the disease. In cases where the swelling and obstruction is detected within this time frame then normal functioning of the kidneys is virtually guaranteed after treatment of the swelling. However, if this six week window is passed and still there is no treatment done for the obstruction and swelling then the chances of the kidney function returning to normal starts to diminish even after treatment for Hydronephrosis.


  1. MedlinePlus. “Hydronephrosis.” [https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003997.htm]

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 20, 2023

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