Posterior urethral valves


If your child has bladder problems they may have posterior urethral valves — our urology experts can help to treat them


Posterior urethral valves (PUV) affects men only. They can be diagnosed before or shortly after birth. The urethra is the tube that connects the bladder with the penis. In boys with PUV, the urethra is blocked near the bladder, causing kidney damage and problems with urinating. Our expert paediatric urologists can diagnose and treat your child.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of posterior urethral valves icon plus

    Symptoms of PUV your child may experience include:

    • an enlarged bladder which you can feel like a lump through the abdomen
    • difficulty urinating
    • uncontrollable bed wetting
    • urinary tract infections
    • poor weight gain
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    PUV can be diagnosed in a fetus with an ultrasound scan. Symptoms your child's consultant will look for include swollen bladder, ureters and/or kidneys. A newborn baby may also have a swollen bladder or constant dribbles of urine.

    If diagnosis of PUV comes in later childhood, tests we offer include:

    • Ultrasound of your child's abdomen to assess kidney functionality.
    • Micutrating cystourethrogram (MCUG). This test highlights if urine is passing backwards through the ureters and kidneys (reflux).
    • A cystoscopy where a small tube with a camera examines the inside of your bladder.
    • Blood tests to assess kidneys and fluid inside the body.
  • Posterior urethral valves treatment icon plus

    Your child's consultant will discuss their treatment options with you. These are carried out after your child is born.

    • A catheter (thin, plastic tube) is inserted into the bladder to drain excess fluid away.
    • If surgery is required, you child's surgeon will remove the part of the urethral valve that is blocked. This is usually carried out with the help of a cystoscope (small tube with a camera on the end).

    On average, two thirds of boys with PUV will suffer long-term kidney damage and half of those will need a renal transplant. As your son grows into adolescence, it's essential he is monitored for changes in the way his kidneys and bladder work.


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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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