Kidney Stones Causes, Early Symptoms & Treatment in Children
Created by Tasneem Sariya Updated on Jan 10, 2021
Kidney stones are formed when minerals and salts get concentrated over time and build into something like pebbles or crystals. Doctors are no seeing cases of kidney stones among children and teens too. Small kidney stones ranging in size from 0.2 inches to 5 mm can be passed in the urine through the urinary tract and usually leave the body with minimal pain. However, larger stones can be painful and can also sometimes block the flow of urine.
Kidney Stones Types in Children
Though children are rarely affected by kidney stones although kidney stones occurrence in kids has increased over the years. There are essentially four types of kidney stones that are found in children & adults. Read carefully here.
- Calcium Stones can occur when there is too much calcium, urate or oxalate in the urine or too little of citrate. Drinking milk doesn’t cause kidney stones.
- Uric Acid stones are formed when the urine is too acidic.
- Struvite Stone occurs when there is an excessive infection of the urine.
- Cystine Stone occurs due to hereditary conditions when the body is unable to clear the cystine chemical from the blood.
Causes of Kidney Stones
Knowing the type of kidney stone helps to identify its cause and treatment. Some common reasons for its occurrence in children are listed below.
- Lifestyle & Diet – An unhealthy diet which includes repetitive consumption of sugary drinks, sports drink, caffeinated products or high sodium/salt content in food can increase the chances of getting kidney stones. Obese children and those doing little or no exercises are also believed to have a higher risk of kidney stones.
- Urinary Infections – Due to an infection in the urinary tract, the urine may get blocked and collected within the body leading to the formation of kidney stones. These infections are usually bacterial. [Read More - Causes, Symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection in Babies]
- Dehydration – Another common cause of kidney stones is dehydration. Not drinking enough fluids and liquids can lead to a concentration of the chemicals leading to the development of kidney stones. In the case of children, one needs to be more careful regarding dehydration. Kids tend to play in the heat without much care about drinking enough water or fluids. As parents ensure that your child drinks water regularly especially on hot days.
- Metabolism & Hereditary Causes – Sometimes due to metabolic, as well as, genetic disorders, kidney stones can be formed. These conditions usually lead to high levels of oxalate and cystine in the urine. In such case, usually, other family members are also affected with kidney stones along with the child.
- Medications – Certain medicines are taken over the counter in excess can lead to the development of kidney stones. It is hence advisable to only consume prescribed medicines in the right dose.
Early Symptoms of Kidney Stones
The most common symptom of kidney stones is a sharp pain in the abdomen. The pain could start in the back or side and then spread across the lower abdomen along the urinary tract. The pain also usually goes and comes in waves. The severity and location of the pain may vary depending on the location of the formation of the stones. The other symptoms include:
- Blood in the urine
- The inability to pass urine
- Fever and vomiting
- Need to pass urine very often
What Is the Best Treatment for Kidney Stones?
So, as a parent want to know how kidney stones are treated! The treatment varies depending on the size and type of kidney stone. Sometimes just drinking enough fluids can help pass the stone from the body. Children can be given IV fluids and pain medicines in order to pass out the stones in their urine.
But, in the case of larger stones, varies medical procedures are in place for their removal. Shock wave lithotripsy, cystoscopy, ureteroscopy, and percutaneous nephrolithotomy are specific medical procedures that treat kidney stones in children and adults. These are conducted by medical experts in the hospital after consultation with doctors. The doctor may also ask for urine collection of your child to determine the intensity and type of stones.
The best way to prevent kidney stones in your kids is to ensure that they consume lots of water and liquids, lead a healthy and active life and avoid sodas, soft drinks and excessive salt in their diets.