In the last six months, Julia has had two urinary tract infections that reached her kidneys and caused very high fevers. After the first one, her pediatrician (who let me know right away that a kidney infection in a then-four-year-old was definitely not normal) sent her for a renal ultrasound, which showed no abnormalities. After the second one, he referred her to a pediatric urologist down at Cedars-Sinai.
A few days ago I took Julia for a most unpleasant procedure called a VCUG involving a catheter and a CAT Scan. Basically, they sent a photographic dye into her bladder to see why bacteria was getting into her kidneys.
As it turns out, Julia has a condition known as Vesicoureteral Reflux on both sides. This means that when her bladder is full, urine creeps back up the ureters into her kidneys, causing infections when any bacteria is present. Happily for her, she has a relatively mild case with a Grade 1 on the left side and a Grade 2 on the right (on a scale of 1-5). Her doctor is hopeful that she will outgrow it in the next year without any surgical intervention at this point.
For anyone interested in learning more about this condition, I found a fantastic summary here.
At any rate, Julia has been placed on a daily low-dose antibiotic for the next year to keep her from sustaining any kidney damage while we are "waiting it out". When this course is finished we will repeat the VCUG to see if the condition has corrected itself or if we will need to intervene one way or another.
I, for one, am very grateful for proactive pediatricians and relatively low-grades of reflux...goodness knows it could be far worse. Prayers for the self-correction of this problem are much appreciated!