Can Kids Get Kidney Stones
I had no idea that kids could get kidney stones. This is something I hear frequently from parents whose children present with their first kidney stone to the urology clinic at Nationwide Childrens Hospital. While kidney stones are much more common in adults, both babies and children can and do get kidney stones. Kidney stones in childhood are becoming more frequent than they used to be, and boys are slightly more at risk to get stones than girls.
What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Stones And How Do You Treat It
Dr. Alon: It depends on the age of the child. Young children may have general complaints of a tummy ache and sometimes throw up. Older children and adolescents will have pain in the flank, back or lower abdomen, and the pain will often be excruciating. In some cases, blood may be present in the urine.
Most of the time kidney stones will pass on their own. The pain will go away once passed. On average, it takes hours or days to pass a kidney stone. Medications can help dilate the urinary passage to help move the stone out of the system. If its too big or if its been longer than a week than an urologist will likely intervene to remove the stone. Kidney stones left untreated can deteriorate kidney function.
Signs & Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
Stones can form in a child’s kidney without causing symptoms for a long time. However, if a stone starts to move down the urinary tract through the tube called the ureter, it can cause symptoms such as:
- Sudden, severe pain in back or side
- Nausea and vomiting
- Groin pain as the stone passes down the urinary tract
- Severe stomach pain only
- Burning or pain while peeing.
- Blood in pee
- Fever and urinary tract infection
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How Are Kidney Stones In Kids Diagnosed
Our providers may use several approaches to diagnose kidney stones depending on your child’s symptoms.
- Our team will start by asking about your child’s medical history and performing a physical exam.
- In some cases, a blood or urine test may be necessary.
- A urine test and are the most common tactics for diagnosing a kidney stone. In some cases, we may use a .
- An ultrasound uses soundwaves to produce pictures of the kidney. A CT scan uses to produce detailed cross-sectional images of the kidney. Our providers use these imaging tests to determine the size and location of the kidney stone.
Types Of Kidney Stones
- Calcium stones are the most common type, usually caused by high intake of certain substances, such as salt.
- Cystine stones can form in people who have cystinuria, an inherited disorder, marked by increased formation of stones in the bladder, kidney and ureter.
- Struvite stones most often occur in women who have urinary tract infections.
- Urica acid stones can occur with gout or after chemotherapy.
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However Genetic And Lifestyle Factors Can Also Contribute To This Condition
If a child has pain while urinating, sharp pain in the lower abdomen or back, or blood in the urine, they could benefit from a visit with a pediatric urologist. In cases of small kidney stones, no formal treatment may be needed. Larger kidney stones may be broken apart using focused ultrasound waves. Our renowned team of urologists develops treatment based on the factors of each case.
Were here to help you and your family thrive. Call; 778-5910;for more information regarding pediatric urology and kidney stones.
Diagnosis Of Kidney Stones In Children
The process of diagnosing kidney stones will begin with a doctor taking into account the symptoms a child is experiencing. Pain or blood in the urine may be the first symptoms noted. Urine, pictures and blood tests can help determine if the childs symptoms are caused by kidney stones.
Other techniques used to make a diagnosis include X-rays, Computed tomography , and Ultrasound.
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How To Prevent Kidney Stones In Kids
After treating the kidney stones, you might wonder it children can get kidney stones again. Well, children with a history of kidney stones have a chance of developing it again. However, precautions, such as the ones given below, can be taken to minimise the chances:
- Drinking water is the best solution.
- Additionally, continuous monitoring to determine the presence of new stones;is;helpful.
Kidneys are important organs, and damage to it can be harmful. Although kidney stones are uncommon in kids, it is always better to take precautions. Ensure your child drinks enough fluids, especially water, to reduce his chances of getting kidney stones if it is a common occurrence in your family.
Why You Get Stones
Part of preventing stones is finding out why you get them. Your health care provider will perform tests to find out what is causing this. After finding out why you get stones, your health care provider will give you tips to help stop them from coming back.
Some of the tests he or she may do are listed below.
Medical and Dietary History
Your health care provider will ask questions about your personal and family medical history. He or she may ask if:
- Have you had more than one stone before?
- Has anyone in your family had stones?
- Do you have a medical condition that may increase your chance of having stones, like frequent diarrhea, gout or diabetes?
Knowing your eating habits is also helpful. You may be eating foods that are known to raise the risk of stones. You may also be eating too few foods that protect against stones or not drinking enough fluids.
Understanding your medical, family and dietary history helps your health care provider find out how likely you are to form more stones.
Blood and Urine Tests
When a health care provider sees you for the first time and you have had stones before, he or she may want to see recent X-rays or order a new X-ray. They will do this to see if there are any stones in your urinary tract. Imaging tests may be repeated over time to check for stone growth. You may also need this test if you are having pain, hematuria or recurrent infections.
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What Is The Best Advice For Preventing Kidney Stones
Dr. Alon: Drink more fluids, eat healthy and pay attention to diet. A child that has developed kidney stones in the past is at greater risk for developing additional stones in the future. Preventative measures are key.
We also know that changing diet and habits cant happen overnight and itll take a few weeks to make adjustments. We also know teenagers will follow recommendations for several months and then slowly go back to old habits. Its not easy and it requires discipline. Support and encouragement are key to success.
Blood And Urine Tests
These tests check your childs blood and urine to find out why a stone developed and how to prevent kidney stones in the future. If performed in a clinic, we may get results from these tests within three days. Your doctor may ask you to collect your childs urine at home over 24 hours using a special kit that can be mailed back. It typically takes about a month for the results of a urine test when the kit is mailed in.
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What Dietary And Lifestyle Advice Is Recommended To Prevent Recurrence
There are some things that everyone should be encouraged to do in order to reduce the risk of developing stones:
- Children should be encouraged to drink 1-2 litres of water per day
- Add fresh lemon juice to drinking water
- Avoid carbonated drinks
- Limit salt intake to between 2 – 6 g / day
- Limit calcium intake to 350 – 1000 mg /day
- Avoid weight gain
To find out more about kidney stones or if you’d like to see a paediatric urologist, contact Mr Andrew Robb.
What Can I Do To Manage My Child’s Kidney Stones
- Offer your child more liquids. Your child’s healthcare provider may tell you to have your child drink at least 8 to 12 cups of liquids each day. This helps flush out the kidney stones when your child urinates. Water is the best liquid to drink.
- Strain your child’s urine every time he or she goes to the bathroom. Have your child urinate through a strainer or a piece of thin cloth to catch the stones. Take the stones to your child’s healthcare provider so they can be sent to a lab for tests. This will help your healthcare providers plan the best treatment for your child.
- Offer your child a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, and fish. Your child may need to limit how much sodium or protein he or she eats. Ask for information about the best foods for your child.
- Encourage your child to exercise regularly. The stones may pass more easily if your child stays active. Exercise can also help your child manage his or her weight. Ask about the best activities for your child.
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Diet Hydration Play Key Roles
One study shows boys and girls ages 10 and younger now have double the risk of developing kidney stones as they did 15 years ago. Teen girls already faced the greatest risk and they also saw the biggest spike in cases.
Another report found an estimated one in 685 children admitted to the hospital each year were diagnosed with kidney stones.
Doctors cannot put a finger on the reason for the rise. Changes in kids diets may play a role, says Christina Nguyen, MD, chief of pediatric nephrology at UH Rainbow Babies & Childrens. Many young people overdo it on sodium and do not get enough calcium a recipe for stone formation. Others may not drink enough water, another risk factor.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Nephrolithiasis In Children Is It The Same As In Adults
The first important step in kidney stones or urolithiasis is diagnosis of the condition. The common mode of diagnosis is an incidental pick-up when an ultrasound scan of the abdomen is done for any reason. However, we need to take care to note that all that glitters is not gold! Hence every scan report that mentions a kidney stone is not necessarily diagnostic or confirmatory of a kidney stone. The size of the stone matters and when the size is less than 5 mm, the probability of a stone being present decreases as is described below.
With regards to the symptoms, we need to understand that as long as the calculus/stone is in the kidney, there are virtually no symptoms. The symptoms occur when the stone starts travelling down the ureters . Hence one may have a fairly large stone sitting in the kidney without any symptom whatsoever.
Sometimes the calcification is within the parenchyma of the kidney and that is called as nephrocalcinosis. That is not a stone and will not travel down the ureters.
When the stone travels down the ureter, there are severe symptoms. There is often colicky abdominal pain associated with vomiting, blood in the urine , flank pain and there maybe dysuria . However, one needs to be careful when we attribute symptoms that a child has to a kidney stone. If there is a 2-3 mm calculus sitting within the kidney and the child has red coloured urine , it is unlikely to be because of that stone
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What To Expect After Treatment For Kidney Stones
Although each person is different, there is about a 50 percent chance of having another stone within the next five years. To help us determine what caused the kidney stone, we may ask your child to collect urine for 24 hours after a stone has passed or been removed to measure urine volume and levels of acidity, calcium, sodium, uric acid, oxalate, citrate and creatinine. Your child may also be asked to have a blood test to help us understand the reason her body is forming stones.
Risk Factors For Kidney Stones In Kids
Following are some of the factors that increase the risk of developing kidney stones in children:
- If the child has a past history of kidney stones, there are chances of it reoccurring.
- The fluid intake by a child directly impacts the urine formation. Drinking less water or other fluids leads to less urine formation, which;increases;the risk of developing stones.
- Diets that are low in carbohydrates are known as ketogenic diets. Following this diet increases the risk of kidney stone formation.
- Children who have cystic fibrosis are at a greater risk of developing stones.
- Abnormalities in the kidneys, ureters, or bladder since birth increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
- Use of some medicines contributes to stone formation in the urine. For example,
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Treatment For Kidney Stones In Children
If a kidney stone is causing a child pain, the goals are to help ease discomfort and to help the stone pass down into the bladder and out in the urine. This can sometimes be done at home by drinking large amounts of water and other fluids. Over-the-counter pain medicine like acetaminophen and ibuprofen may be helpful to manage pain. Other oral medications may be prescribed to ease the stone’s passage. Your child’s doctor may recommend using a strainer to help collect the stone from the urine so it can be tested in the lab.
Sometimes, if children are vomiting or have severe pain, they may need to be hospitalized so they can get fluids and stronger pain medicine through a vein.
Children with large stones or stones that will not pass on their own may need the help of a urologist, a doctor who specializes in the urinary tract. The urologist may use lithotripsy, a procedure that uses sound waves to break the stone into tiny pieces, which are then passed down the urinary tract. While it may sound scary, it is quite safe and does not damage the kidney. The urologist may also remove the stone by using a scope that enters the bladder and goes up the ureter while your child is under anesthesia. The urologist can then “grab” the stone and remove it from the body.
Causes And Symptoms Of Kidney Stones
There are multiple causes and contributing factors to kidney stone formation. Here are the main causes of kidney stones:
- Bacteria from urinary tract infections
- Certain medications
- Problems with formation of urinary tract inside the body
The four main symptoms of kidney stones are:;
If you are concerned your child has or may have kidney stones, it is very important to talk to their pediatrician. Your childs pediatrician may recommend referral to a pediatric urologist to discuss stone removal or a pediatric nephrologist to discuss ongoing management and stone prevention. If your child is suffering from intense pain with nausea and vomiting, then they should be taken to the emergency department for prompt evaluation. Note: If your child passed a kidney stone and you find it, place it in a plastic bag and take it to their pediatrician.
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Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented
It’s not always possible to prevent some types of kidney stones.;
But all kids who’ve had kidney stones should:
- Drink a lot of liquids throughout the day. Avoid dark sodas, soft drinks, and sports drinks. If their pee is almost clear, that’s a sign they’re drinking enough. Ask your doctor how much your child should drink.
- Limit the salt and protein in their diet.
If dietary changes don’t prevent kidney stones, medicines can help. Depending on the type of kidney stone your child had, the doctor can prescribe treatments or medicines to lower the levels of crystal-forming substances in the pee.
Doctors will keep an eye on kids who have had kidney stones and try to prevent new ones. The doctor might have your child use a 24-hour urine collection test. This measures the volume of pee within a 24-hour period and checks what’s in it.
What Causes Kidney Stones In Kids
Most kids who get kidney stones have a health condition that increases their risk for them. But others get them for no known reason. Some types of kidney stones run in families, so having a family member with kidney stones can make a person more likely to get them. Kids who have had kidney stones before are more likely to get them again. Other risk factors include:
Dehydration. Not drinking enough fluids can make pee become extra-concentrated. This increases the chance of crystals forming.
An unhealthy diet and lifestyle. Drinking lots of sugary, caffeinated;or sports drinks and eating a diet high in sodium can increase the risk of calcium stones. Obesity also can make kids more likely to get them.
Urinary tract defects. A structural defect in the urinary tract can block the flow of pee and create an area where it collects in a tiny pool. When pee stops flowing, crystal-forming substances may settle together and form stones.
Some medicines. Some prescription and over-the-counter medicines can increase the risk of kidney stones if taken in large doses.
Metabolic disorders. Having a metabolic disorder can lead to concentrated levels of oxalate or cystine in the urine.
Cystinuria. This genetic condition causes too much cystine to pass from the kidneys into the pee, causing cystine stones.
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