Health Conditions

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Acute bilateral obstructive uropathy


Acute bilateral obstructive uropathy is a sudden blockage of the flow of urine from both kidneys. The kidneys continue to produce urine in the normal manner, but because urine does not drain properly, the kidneys start to swell.

See also:

  • Chronic unilateral obstructive uropathy
  • Chronic bilateral obstructive uropathy
  • Acute unilateral obstructive uropathy


In men, acute bilateral obstructive uropathy is most often a result of an enlarged prostate. Other causes in men include:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney stones
  • Prostate cancer

Acute bilateral obstructive uropathy is much less common in women, but may be due to:

  • Bladder cystocele
  • Cervical cancer
  • Injury from surgery involving the reproductive organs
  • Pregnancy

Other causes in men and women include:

  • Blood clots
  • Neurogenic bladder
  • Other rare retroperitoneal processes
  • Papillary necrosis
  • Posterior urethral valves in infant boys

Acute bilateral obstructive uropathy occurs in about 5 out of 10,000 people.


  • Abnormal urine flow -- dribbling at the end of urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Burning or stinging with urination
  • Decrease in the force of the urinary stream, stream small and weak
  • Decreased urine output (may be less than 10 mL per day)
  • Feeling of incomplete emptying of the bladder
  • Fever
  • Frequent strong urge to urinate
  • Recent increase in blood pressure
  • Leakage of urine (incontinence)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Need to urinate at night
  • Sudden flank pain or pain on both sides
  • Urinary hesitancy
  • Urine, abnormal color


The goal of treatment is to relieve the blockage, which will allow urine to drain from the urinary tract. You may need to stay in a hospital for a short while.

Short-term treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics and other medications to treat symptoms
  • Catheterization-- the placement of a tube into the body to drain urine (See: Urinary catheters)

Long-term treatment involves correcting the cause of the blockage. This may involve:

  • Surgery such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
  • Laser or heat therapy to shrink the prostate if the problem is due to an enlarged prostate

Surgery may also be needed for other disorders that cause blockage of the urethra or bladder neck.


If the acute obstruction is quickly relieved, symptoms usually go away within hours to days. If untreated, the disorder causes progressive damage to the kidneys. It may eventually lead to high blood pressure or kidney failure.


You may not be able to prevent this condition. Routine annual physicals with a primary care doctor are recommended. If your doctor finds you have acute obstructive uropathy, you should be referred to the nearest emergency room and seen by a urologist.