About 30 years ago, kidney stones were considered the disease of only middle-aged people. However, worryingly, more and more patients are being diagnosed with this extremely painful condition, who belong to a much younger age group. Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that can get caught in the urinary tract. It is a metabolic disorder, also known as nephrolithiasis.
Kidney stones are now occurring in younger people, particularly among teenage girls according to umpteen research reports in India. Surprisingly, stones can be found in children as young as 5 years old.
Minerals such as calcium, oxalate and phosphorus accumulate in urine and form hard yellowish crystals. These crystals can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball in severe cases. While some stones can make their way out the urinary tract with no issue, others can get stuck, blocking the urine flow and leading to severe pain and bleeding.
Renal stones, also known as kidney stones, can occur in children, although they are less common in this age group compared to adults. The symptoms and prevention strategies for renal stones in children are different to those in adults, and there may be some specific considerations for pediatric cases. It’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised advice.
What are the symptoms of renal stones in children?
Pain: Children with kidney stones may experience abdominal or flank pain. The pain can be severe and intermittent.
(Blood in urine) : Kidney stones can cause bleeding, leading to the presence of blood in the urine.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) : The presence of kidney stones can increase the risk of urinary tract infections.
Nausea and vomiting : Children may experience nausea and vomiting, especially if the pain is severe.
What are the prevention strategies ?
Hydration : Encourage your child to stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Proper hydration can help prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Dietary changes : Adjust your child’s diet to reduce the intake of certain substances that can contribute to stone formation. These may include excessive amounts of salt, animal proteins, and oxalate-rich foods (such as chocolate, nuts, and some fruits and vegetables).
Calcium intake : Ensure an adequate but not excessive intake of calcium. Some studies suggest that a moderate calcium intake can protect against kidney stone formation.
Limit soda and caffeine: Excessive consumption of carbonated drinks and caffeinated beverages may contribute to kidney stone formation. Encourage your child to consume these in moderation.
Regular physical activity: Promote a healthy and active lifestyle, as regular physical activity may help prevent kidney stones.
Medical evaluation: If your family has a history of kidney stones or if your child experiences recurrent urinary symptoms, consider seeking medical evaluation. A healthcare professional can assess the risk factors and provide guidance on preventive measures.
Monitor for symptoms:
Be aware of the symptoms of kidney stones and seek prompt medical attention if your child experiences persistent pain, blood in the urine, or other worrying symptoms.
Remember, individual cases may vary, and it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalised advice based on your child’s specific health situation.
(Dr Naresh Purohit is – Executive Member-Indian Academy of Neurology. The views expressed here are of the author)