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Urinary and Genital Disorders (Children)

Recurring UTIs and Non-Functioning Kidney



My daughter has been having recurring UTIs and so was sent for an ultrasound where they found that one kidney never developed. The urologist suggested it might be harboring bacteria. Should she be seeing a nephrologist or stay with the urologist, and at age 17, does it need to be a pediatric specialist? She is allergic to pennicillin and sulfa. What other symptoms might she have had over the years if this kidney is harboring bacteria? (Unexplained bouts of nausea and fatigue for many years, always diagnosed as "nervousness." Thanks for any comments, suggestions for seeking treatment, etc.


A full evaluation including a detailed history, physical examination, review of previous urine cultures, as well as a review of all imaging would be needed to help make a decision regarding your daughter's situation. An adult or pediatric urologist would be able to do the evaluation and come up with a treatment plan. An ultrasound, voiding cystourethrogram (contrast xray of the bladder), as well as a renal cortical scan (to check the function of the abnormal kidney) would be the initial imaging evaluation that is needed. After review of all the information, a decision can be made regarding whether the kidney requires surgical intervention or removal.

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Response by:

William Robert DeFoor, MD, MPH William Robert DeFoor, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati