The majority of people who suffer with kidney stones are aged 20-50. However, occasionally they can occur in children too. It can be devastating watching your child suffer with the symptoms kidney stones produce. However, the good news is that they can be treated, and they will usually pass naturally.
Read on to learn more about kidney stones in children.
Why Do Children Develop Kidney Stones?
Children can be susceptible to kidney stones if they don’t drink enough fluids. While they can occur in premature infants, they tend to mostly affect teenagers when they strike in childhood. Teen girls are known to be particularly susceptible to kidney stones and the most common type they suffer with is calcium-based stones.
While diet is the leading cause, they can also occur due to a kidney infection, an inherited issue, or through a blockage to the flow of urine.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms to Watch Out For?
Pain in the back area is the most common sign of kidney stones in children. The pain will come on suddenly and remain severe and constant. This in turn can lead to nausea and vomiting.
As the stone moves down the urinary tract, it can also cause blood to appear in the urine. However, this may not be visible to the naked eye.
Diagnosis and Treatment
If you suspect your child does have kidney stones, they will need to be diagnosed by the doctor. Usually an x-ray or ultrasound is used to diagnose kidney stones in children. CT scans are common for adult diagnosis, but they do pose a greater risk to children due to the radiation. So, an x-ray will usually be the first test carried out.
If kidney stones are diagnosed, the goal will be to help your child pass the stones naturally. They will need to increase their fluid intake and medication may be provided to control the pain. If the kidney stones are causing your child to vomit and not keep fluid down, an IV may be required. However, this rarely has to be provided as most are able to keep fluids down without issue.
If the stones are particularly large, the doctor may suggest surgery to remove them. This is because your child would struggle to push out larger stones by themselves, leading to a significant amount of pain.
Can They Be Prevented?
There are a few ways you can prevent your child from developing kidney stones. Making sure they eat plenty of calcium-rich foods and drink lots of fluids is the main step to take. In terms of fluids, they should ideally be drinking water rather than fizzy soda. You can also reduce the amount of salt they consume.
Overall, kidney stones can occur in children, so it is worth being aware of the signs and symptoms. If you do suspect your child has them, take them to the doctor for a proper diagnosis. This will ensure their symptoms aren’t being caused by a more serious underlying health issue.