Ectopic Ureter

What is ectopic ureter?

The ureters are the tubes in the body that drain urine from the kidneys to the bladder. A ureter that is not connected to the bladder, and drains somewhere else is known as an ectopic ureter.

What causes ectopic ureter?

Ectopic ureter is a defect that is present at birth. The exact reason that ectopic ureter occurs is not known. Ectopic ureters are frequently associated with what is called a duplex kidney where a single kidney has two separate ureters, one drains normally into the bladder while the other is ectopic (draining in boys into the urethra or in girls into the urethra or vagina).

What are the symptoms of ectopic ureter?

Symptoms include frequent urinary tract infections, incontinence (leaking urine), drainage of pus from the vagina in girls or testicular infection (epididymitis) in boys, and vesicoureteral reflux (urine that flows backward through the ureters) with an enlarged kidney (hydronephrosis).

What are ectopic ureter care options?

A number of surgical procedures may be undertaken depending on the age of the infant/child and the problems associated with the ectopic ureter.


Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: May 01, 2020 05:00 PM

Pediatric Urology

The Division of Pediatric Urology and Urologic Surgery at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital specializes in the treatment and diagnosis of urological conditions.

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Hydronephrosis

The urinary tract has 4 parts: two kidneys, the two ureters through which urine flows to the bladder, the bladder and the urethra the short tube out of the bladder through which urine is passed out of the body. Hydronephrosis is a condition where one or both kidneys swell either because of a blockage/obstruction of urine flow or because of reverse urine flow from the bladder (reflux). Learn more

Duplex Collecting System

In a normal urinary tract, the ureters are two thin tubes in the abdomen, one each connecting a kidney to the bladder. These enable the removal of urine from the body. When a duplex collecting system is present, two ureters (one draining the upper part of a kidney-the other draining the lower half) connect each kidney to the bladder. Often a ballooning of the ureter (ureterocele) occurs in the ureter draining the top half of the kidney, close to the bladder which with its lower bladder position may cause urinary reflux (backflow of urine from the bladder towards the kidney-vesicoureteral reflux-VUR, and hydronephrosis-swelling of the kidney). Learn more