Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
(603) 742-5252
Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) font size
Site Search

Bladder catheterization, female
Bladder catheterization, female

Bladder catheterization, male
Bladder catheterization, male


Chronic bilateral obstructive uropathy is a long-term blockage of urine flow from both kidneys. It is a slow blockage that gets worse over time.

Bilateral means "both sides."

See also:

Alternative Names:

Obstructive uropathy - bilateral - chronic; Kidney failure - chronic blockage

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

The most common cause of chronic bilateral obstructive uropathy is a condition called bladder outlet obstruction . The kidneys produce urine in the normal manner but the urine cannot leave the bladder. Urine backs up, causing kidney swelling and damage.

When the blockage causes urine to back up into both kidneys, hydronephrosis (swelling of the kidneys) results. High blood pressure and kidney failure can result.

In men, chronic bilateral obstructive uropathy is most often a result of benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

Other causes of chronic bilateral obstructive uropathy include:

  • Bladder tumors
  • Prostate tumors
  • Tumors or masses of the uterus or other structures around the bladder neck or urethra
  • Retroperitoneal fibrosis
  • Narrowing of the urethra due to a birth defect or scar tissue

Chronic bilateral obstructive uropathy occurs in about 1 out of every 1,000 people.


Symptoms depend on the nature of the obstruction and where in the urinary tract the obstruction occurs.

Some of the most common symptoms of chronic obstructive uropathy include:

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:

Signs and tests:

A physical exam may show swollen or tender kidneys. The bladder may be large and full. A rectal examination may reveal an enlarged prostate. Blood pressure may be high.

Blood tests will be done to check kidney function, electrolyte balance, and blood cell counts. Urine tests may reveal a urinary tract infection.

Other tests that may be done:


The goal of treatment is to get rid of the blockage. You may need to stay in a hospital for a short while.

Treatment may include:

  • Antibiotics to treat urinary tract infection
  • Catheterization-- the placement of a tube into the body to drain urine (See: urinary catheters )
  • Dialysis if kidney failure occurs
  • Laser or heat therapy to shrink the prostate if the problem is due to an enlarged prostate
  • Surgery such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP)
  • Other types of surgery for disorders causing blockage of the urethra or bladder neck

Support Groups:

Expectations (prognosis):

Bilateral obstructive uropathy may be reversible if the blockage is corrected before kidney failure develops.

Chronic kidney failure leads to long-term kidney damage that can be life threatening.

Patients with a chronic blockage are at a higher risk for complications due to catheter use. Long-term catheter use (such as with a Foley catheter) may make the kidneys unable to concentrate urine. As a result, your body removes large amounts of urine that haven't been properly processed. This is called post-obstructive diuresis. It can be a life-threatening condition. Close monitoring is required.

If the obstruction was caused by cancer , the ultimate outcome depends on the disease severity and your response to treatment.


Calling your health care provider:

Call your health care provider if decreased urine output or other symptoms of chronic bilateral obstructive uropathy develop.


Routine screening (and treatment) for lower urinary tract disorders may help prevent this condition. A digital rectal exam  is used to screen men for prostate problems.


Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. St. Louis, Mo: WB Saunders; 2007.

Goldman L, Ausiello D, et al. Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 22nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2004:741-742.

Review Date: 1/24/2008
Reviewed By: Marc A. Greenstein, D.O., F.A.C.O.S. Urologist, Somerset Medical Center in Somerville, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Find What You Need

About Us
Social Media Agreement
Joint Notice
Web Privacy Policy
WDH Staff Portal

Centers & Services

Cancer Center
Cardiovascular Care
Joint Replacement
Women & Children's
Physician Offices
Other Services

Conditions & Treatments

Health Information
Ebola Information

Support Services

Support Groups
Dental Center
Social Work
Food & Nutrition
Integrative Wellness
Spiritual Care
Concerns & Grievances
Homecare and Hospice

For Patients

Pay Your Bill Online
Pricing Estimates
Financial Assistance
Interpreter Services
Surgery Preparation
Medical Record Request
Advance Directives
Clinical Research & Trials

For Healthcare Professionals

Work and Life
Financial Well-Being
Career and Growth

The Wentworth-Douglass Health System includes:



Wentworth-Douglass Hospital
789 Central Avenue, Dover, NH 03820
Phone: (603) 742-5252
Toll free: 1 (877) 201-7100