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Vesicoureteral Reflux Center

Vesicoureteral reflux is a condition in which urine flows in the wrong direction, going from the bladder back up toward the kidneys. Children with the disorder commonly get urinary tract infections and may wet the bed or say that it hurts when they urinate. If left untreated, the condition can lead to kidney infections, which can cause temporary or permanent damage to the kidneys.

At the UCSF Pediatric Vesicoureteral Reflux Center, we are experts in diagnosing and treating this condition, and our compassionate approach to care focuses on keeping kids as comfortable as possible and reassuring worried parents. The test used to diagnose vesicoureteral reflux, called a voiding cystourethrogram, sometimes alarms parents because it requires urethral catheterization (placing a thin, flexible tube in the urethra). Fortunately, our nurse practitioners are very experienced in placing these catheters and can make the process as quick and painless as possible. They also can review the test results immediately afterward, a service that’s not available at most clinics.

We develop an individualized treatment plan for each patient that takes into consideration the severity of their condition as well as their family’s wishes. Some children outgrow the condition and in the meantime can be treated with daily antibiotics to prevent infections and behavioral modifications to prevent accidents. For other children, surgery is necessary to repair the valve that’s allowing urine to flow the wrong way. With expertise in endoscopic techniques, our doctors seek to perform these procedures in the least invasive way possible for each child.

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    Awards & recognition

    • Best in Northern California for urology

    • Ranked among the nation's best in 10 specialties

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    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your child's condition
    • List of medications, including dosages, plus any your child is allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

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    Your Stay

    We offer valuable information to help you plan for your child's upcoming hospital stay. Find out about food services, family accommodations and more.

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    Your Child's Care Team

    Our doctors, nurses, child life specialists and other providers have special training to care for children. Meet your child's care team.

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    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

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    Related clinics (1)

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    Urology Clinic

    Urology Clinic

    San Francisco / Oakland / Greenbrae / Modesto / San Mateo / Walnut Creek

    Support services

    Child Life Services

    Activity rooms, pet therapy and more to help kids feel at home.

    Child Life

    Certified child life specialists ease the stress and anxiety of childhood illness through therapeutic play, schooling and family-focused support.

    Family Amenities

    Family-friendly amenities help you relax and take care of yourself while staying close to your child. We offer lounges, kitchens, showers, breastfeeding rooms and more.

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    Social Services

    Social workers ease the effect of illness, injury and hospitalization on your family with counseling and assistance to help you navigate the challenges.

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    Activity Rooms

    Activity rooms offer a relaxed environment for children of all ages. Features include a playroom, digital arts studio and teen lounge. Find out more.

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    Art Therapy

    Art therapy helps kids and families express themselves, making it easier to cope with pediatric health issues. Group and bedside services are available.

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    Music Therapy Program

    Board-certified music therapists help kids cope with illness and the feelings that come with it. Find out about group activities and bedside therapy.

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    School Program

    Our schoolroom services and individual learning programs help children hospitalized at UCSF continue their education and get ready to return to school.

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    School Re-Entry Program

    After hospitalization, we help kids return to school by educating staff and students about their needs and recommending needed accommodations. Read more.

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    Individual Playtime & Instruction

    If your child can't be around other kids for medical reasons, you can sign up for private sessions in our activity and school rooms. Find out how.

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    Interpreter Services & Communication Assistance

    Interpreter services in many languages and TDDs are available for families that need help communicating with care teams. Here's how to access them.

    Family Resource Center

    We help families cope with the challenges of childhood illness and hospitalization in a relaxing environment where parents can get a much-needed break.

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    Parent Support Program

    Weekly activities, including knitting, scrapbooking, chair massage and more, help family caregivers get a much-needed break. Find out more.

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    Patient Relations

    Patient relations reps and nursing supervisors are here to answer questions and address concerns. Learn about your rights, how to reach us and more.

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    Spiritual Care

    Chaplains help UCSF patients, families and staff cope with the spiritual and emotional challenges of childhood illness. Learn more.

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    International Services

    If you're coming to UCSF from outside the U.S., we coordinate your child's appointments and provide other helpful services. Here's how to get started.

    Our research initiatives

    • UCSF Baskin Lab

      The Baskin Laboratory investigates the causes of pediatric urological diseases present at birth or acquired later. The lab's research has a special focus on curing and preventing hypospadias, in which the urethra's opening is on the underside of the penis.

    Tender wagging care

    Our therapy dogs spread joy and smiles at the bedside and throughout the hospital.

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