What is caliectasis?

Caliectasis is a condition that affects the calyces in your kidneys. Your calyces are where urine collection begins. Each kidney has 6 to 10 calyces. They’re on the outer edges of your kidneys.

With caliectasis, the calyces become dilated and swollen with extra fluid. It’s usually caused by another condition that affects the kidneys, such as a urinary tract infections (UTI). The only way to detect caliectasis is through diagnostic testing. In fact, most people with caliectasis don’t know they have it until they’re tested for something else.

Are there any symptoms?

Caliectasis doesn’t cause any symptoms on its own. However, you may have symptoms related to the condition that’s causing it.

General symptoms of kidney problems include:

  • blood in your urine
  • abdominal pain or tenderness
  • trouble urinating
  • increased urge to urinate
  • pus in your urine
  • foul-smelling urine

What causes it?

Caliectasis is usually caused by an issue that affects your kidneys, such as:

Kidneys are essential for a healthy body. Read more about kidney health and kidney disease.

How is it diagnosed?

Caliectasis is often diagnosed at the same time as other kidney-related conditions. First, your doctor will ask you about any symptoms you have. They may also perform a physical exam to check for swelling and tenderness in the area around your kidneys.

Next, they’ll likely use a diagnostic test, such as:

  • Cystoscopy. This test uses a camera that’s inserted through the urethra to look at your kidneys and bladder.
  • Ultrasound. An abdominal ultrasound can help identify extra fluids or foreign objects in your kidneys.
  • Urography. This test uses both a CT scan and contrast dye to provide a view of your kidneys.
  • Urinalysis. A test of a urine sample.

Caliectasis usually shows up during one of these tests.

How is it treated?

Treating caliectasis depends on the underlying cause. Treatment options for common kidney problems include:

  • antibiotics for infection
  • surgery to remove tumors or kidney stones
  • nephrostomy tubes or catheters to drain urine

Are there any complications?

Left untreated, conditions that cause caliectasis can lead to complications, including kidney failure. This happens when your kidneys are damaged beyond repair. Depending on the damage, you may need a kidney transplant or dialysis.

Caliectasis related to a UTI or UTO may also increase your risk of developing kidney disease.

Living with caliectasis

Caliectasis is almost always caused by an underlying problem related to your kidneys. Once this condition is treated, caliectasis usually goes away. It’s important to tell your doctor about your symptoms as soon as possible. Many of them can cause permanent kidney damage if left untreated.