What is a Kidney Stone?
A kidney stone is a piece of material formed from highly concentrated substances in urine. It may stay in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract. Small stones may pass out of the body with little pain but large stones may inhibit or block the flow of urine and cause noticeable symptoms.
What Causes of Kidney Stones in Children?
There are a variety of reasons why substances in the urine may become highly concentrated and cause kidney stones in children.
- Anatomic abnormality of the urinary tract
- Urinary tract infection
- Inherited factors
- Unhealthy diet or lifestyle
- Metabolic disorders
What are the Symptoms of Kidney Stones?
Although small stones may pass easily and manifest no symptoms at all, larger kidney stones are likely to create some or all of these symptoms:
- Pain during urination
- Sharp pain in the back or lower abdomen
- Blood in urine
- Nausea and vomiting
How are Kidney Stones Diagnosed in Children?
Diagnosing kidney stones may involve several steps. A medical history and physical examination will be followed by laboratory and imaging tests as necessary.
- Laboratory tests include urine and blood testing.
- Imagine tests include ultrasound, abdominal x-ray, and CT scans
How are Pediatric Kidney Stones Treated?
Treatment of a kidney stone varies depending on the size and type of stone as well as the severity of symptoms. Small stones will generally pass without treatment however it will be important to encourage children to drink enough fluids. If further intervention is needed, one or more of the following treatments may be recommended:
- Pain control using medication
- Diet modifications, including more fluids; IV fluids if necessary
- Hospital treatments:
- Shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) uses shock waves to crush the stones.
- Ureteroscopic treatment uses a ureteroscope to extent through the urethral opening as far as the stone where the stone is then either removed or broken up with a laser for easier passage
- Percutaneous nephrostolithotomy (PCN) involves inserting a tube directly through the skin over the kidney and into the kidney to remove the stone.
- Laproscopic or open surgery
How are Kidney Stones Prevented?
The first step in prevention is understanding why the child is developing kidney stones. This may involve further analysis of urine or genetic testing. Additionally, the family may benefit from consultation with a dietitian to determine what changes should be made based on the type of stone formation experienced.
If you suspect your child may have a kidney stone, contact Dr. Grace Hyun.
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