More children are developing kidney stones, some as young as five or six. There may be several contributing factors such as food additives, salt and not drinking enough water. 50 to 60% of children with stones have a family history of the disease.
We may try to let the stone pass, providing medicine to reduce pain. If we believe large, difficult or multiple stones could block urine flow or cause infection, we may use ultrasonic shockwave lithotripsy. This non-invasive procedure breaks stones into fragments so they more easily pass.
Treating kidney stones in children is challenging because they can result from various underlying problems. Genetic risk is common, but many factors can contribute to stone development.
Stones can lodge in any part of the urinary system. To locate them, we will use imaging tests such as:
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan
Treatment for kidney stones depends on their size and whether they are causing pain or blocking the urinary tract. Most stones pass on their own.
- Small stones can sit in the kidney for months or even years without causing pain or damage.
- Once stones grow larger, we may treat them even if they are not painful. Stones of this size can move into the ureter and block urine flow, causing severe pain.
- Stones usually can be removed with either minimally invasive or non-invasive treatment.
- Shock-wave lithotripsy — A non-invasive treatment using focused shock waves from outside the body on the kidney stone. The waves break larger stones into tiny fragments. The particles can easily pass in the urine.
- Ureteroscopic laser lithotripsy – Some stones cannot be treated with shock-wave lithotripsy because of size, location, composition or other medical conditions. With ureteroscopic laser lithotripsy, while the patient is under anesthesia, we pass a tiny, pediatric-sized, fiber-optic camera into the urinary tract through the urethra to the stones’ location in the bladder, kidney or ureter. The laser breaks the stones into tiny pieces, which are flushed from the body.
- Percutaneous Lithotripsy (Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy) – Used to treat very large stones or those that can’t be treated with other methods. We make a tiny incision through which we pass a camera into the kidney. We can then fragment the stones using ultrasonic or laser lithotripsy.
To determine the underlying cause of reoccurring stones we perform:
- A metabolic evaluation
- Blood work
- Urine studies
To help lower the chance of developing stone, we recommend
- Hydration — Drinking plenty of fluids can reduce the risk of urinary tract infections, a major cause of some stones.
- Dietary Changes — Depending on the stone’s composition and laboratory test results, we may suggest eating less meat and table salt.
- Medication — Some patients benefit from medications. We may prescribe diuretics to decrease calcium excretion. Potassium citrate binds calcium and helps to remove it safely.