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Nonobstructive hydronephrosis due to social polydipsia: a case report

Natallia Maroz*, Uladzimir Maroz, Saima Iqbal, Ravi Aiyer, Ganesh Kambhampati and A Ahsan Ejaz

Author Affiliations

Division of Nephrology, Hypertension, and Renal Transplantation, University of Florida, 1600 Archer Road, PO Box 100224, Gainesville, FL, 32610, USA

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2012, 6:376  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-6-376

Published: 6 November 2012



Excessive fluid intake can lead to water intoxication, electrolyte abnormalities, exacerbation of heart failure and anatomical changes in the urinary tract that may present diagnostic and therapeutic challenges for patients and physicians. Although the development of nonobstructive hydronephrosis is recognized in patients with central and nephrogenic diabetes insipidus, pregnancy or psychiatric polydipsia, it is rarely a diagnostic consideration in healthy individuals with excessive fluid ingestion. We now present what we believe to be the first report of nonobstructive hydronephrosis associated with social polydipsia.

Case presentation

A 53-year-old African-American woman with moderate back pain was found to have bilateral moderate hydronephrosis and hydroureter by abdominal computed tomography. She underwent ureteral stent placement followed by exploratory laparoscopy with lysis of adhesions and a right oophorectomy, without resolution of the nonobstructive hydronephrosis. A careful assessment revealed a social habit of consuming approximately 5.5L of fluid daily in an effort to remain hydrated in accordance with public health service announcements. It was recommended that the patient reduce her fluid intake. A repeat ultrasound after six weeks revealed complete resolution of the bilateral hydronephrosis and hydroureter.


Recognition of the nonobstructive nature of hydronephrosis caused by polydipsia in healthy individuals is important to prevent unnecessary interventions.