Kidney Stones -- Child

Kidney stones are crystallized material in the urine. These stones form in the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract. Kidney stones may be made up of a variety of minerals in the blood. The most common are calcium, oxalate or phosphate. Others stones may contain uric acid, struvite, and/or cystine.

  • Causes

    Some of the known causes of kidney stones in children include:

    • Too much oxalate in the urine
    • Too much calcium in the urine or blood
    • Too much uric acid in the urine
    • Tiny bacteria a stone can form around
    • Inherited abnormality in the way the body handles cystine
    • Foreign bodies in the urinary tract, like stents or catheters

    • Abnormal function of the urinary tract, such as
      neurogenic bladder

  • Definition

    Kidney stones are crystallized material in the urine. These stones form in the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract. Kidney stones may be made up of a variety of minerals in the blood. The most common are calcium, oxalate or phosphate. Others stones may contain uric acid, struvite, and/or cystine.

    Kidney Stone
    IMAGE
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  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Images of the kidneys and urinary tract may be taken with:

    • Ultrasound—to examine the kidneys
    • KUB (kidney, ureter, bladder)—an x-ray to view the urinary tract
    • Spiral CT scan—to make pictures of the inside of the kidney
    • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)—a special x-ray that produces images of the urinary system (rarely used)


    A 24-hour urine test may also be done to look for levels of minerals in the urine including
    calcium
    ,
    phosphorus
    , uric acid, oxalate, and citrate.

  • Prevention

    Your child is likely to have another kidney stone if they had one before. Here are some steps that may help to prevent future stones:

    • Have your child drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Avoid sodas.
    • Make sure your child does not eat too much food that is high in salt such as potato chips, french fries, processed meats, etc.
    • A calcium-rich diet can help bind oxalate before it reaches the kidney. Encourage milk and yogurt.
    • If your child is overweight, work with your child’s doctor to learn the safest way for your child to lose weight.
    • Encourage water during sporting activities or other active playtimes.

  • Risk Factors

    These factors increase your child’s chance of developing kidney stones:

    • Dehydration
      —not drinking enough fluids
    • Eating foods high in salt

    • Eating a
      ketogenic diet
      to help control
      epilepsy
    • Mineral content of water your child drinks (hardness or softness of the water)

    • Having family members who have had kidney stones or
      gout
    • Having kidney stones in the past

    • Being
      overweight

    • Medical conditions (eg,
      urinary tract infections
      , metabolic conditions)
    • Geographic location (residents of the Southeast United States have an increased risk)
    • Limited physical activity
    • Foreign material in the urinary tract (eg, catheter)

  • Symptoms

    Occasionally, kidney stones do not cause symptoms, and they leave the body in the urine. Often a kidney stone can cause severe pain and symptoms such as:

    • Sudden, severe pain in the side of the body or mid- or lower back when it moves
    • Pain in the belly or groin area
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Blood in the urine
    • Burning pain when urinating
    • Fever
    • Recurring urinary tract infections

  • Treatment

    Treatment depends on the size and location of the kidney stone. Treatment may include: