Kidneys are the filters in the body. They filter blood, make urine and remove waste products out of the body. They also help to regulate the electrolyte levels in the body, which is one of the important body functions. Kidney stones are solid concretions formed in the ureter from the dissolved urinary minerals in the kidneys. Some of these are excreted from the body through urine, but some grow significantly bigger and cause obstruction in the ureter. This obstruction may further lead to dilation or stretching of the upper ureter and renal pelvis, as well as result in muscle spasm of the ureter, in a bid to remove the stone. This leads to pain, normally in the back, lower abdomen, and groin. In some cases, there can be blood in the urine, which may, or may not be visible to the naked eye. This is often caused due to some damage to the lining of the urinary tract. It has been observed that stones are less prevalent in children than in adults.
Causes of kidney stones in children
It is not yet possible to come to a consensus about the causes of kidney stones in kids. However, heredity has a major role to play in the formation of stones. Often, they are formed due to excess calcium in the body. Some people are predisposed to high levels of calcium in urine, which is hereditary. Along with heredity, geographical conditions can also have a great impact on kidney stone formation in young ones. There are certain areas, in which people have an increased risk of stone formation. Hot climate and poor fluid intake may cause dehydration in kids, which, in turn, leads to stones in the kidneys. To be precise, urine becomes more concentrated, and chemicals and minerals come in closer contact to form a stone. There are certain medications, which can increase the risk of stones. Taking excessive amount of calcium
, and vitamin A
and D supplements can also lead to the formation of kidney stones
. Certain antibiotics also increase the risk of stone formation in the kidneys. The causes can also point towards certain underlying illnesses. Inflammatory bowel disease
and cystic fibrosis
are among the few leading causes of this condition in young children.
Symptoms of kidney stones in children
One of the most common symptoms is pain in the abdominal region
. The pain often occurs in waves, as the body tries to get rid of the obstruction in the ureter. A number of children also experience pain in the side of the stomach, especially the love handles. The pain can radiate to the groin from the mid back region while being sudden and intense. In some cases, the pain may wax and wane, however, more often than not, there can be a significant underlying ache in between acute spasms.
Blood in urine and extreme pain are the most commonly observed symptoms in children affected with the condition. The blood is passed, because the stone irritates the ureter. At the same time, it is important to note, that blood in the urine, may not always be an indicator of kidney stone. There are other reasons, which can also give rise to this condition. Another symptom is frequent urination
. Some people may also suffer from fever, nausea and/or vomiting.
Treatment of kidney stones in children
The treatment will depend on the size, location, number, and composition of the stones. Unlike adults, children in most cases are able to excrete stones that are larger in size, easily without any surgical intervention
. The doctors may prescribe some medication, which will help the child to get rid of the stones with ease. However, there are some cases, when the stones may have to be removed with the help of a surgical procedure. In such cases, it is important to remove them, when they are smaller in size, than wait for them to grow bigger and cause agony and trauma to the child.
If it is an emergency, then intravenous fluids may be given to the child to help in hydration. Painkillers may also be given to the patient to control pain. If along with the stone, the child also suffers from infection, then the child may have to be hospitalised.
Formation of stones should not be neglected in case of children as well as adults, as it can lead to emergencies. However, the best way is to prevent them altogether. For that, you will have to ensure that your child is well hydrated at all times. If you are giving any supplement to your child, it should be given in consultation with a paediatric urologist