Preventing kidney stones in kids
Kidney stones are hard calcium masses formed in the kidneys, and sometimes they stay in the kidney and cause no issues. But if they try to pass out of the kidney and get stuck, they can cause extreme pain.
Now, they are beginning to show up more and more in children.
These are some ways to stop your child from going through what can be a painful experience.
Each year more than a half million Americans go to the emergency room for kidney stones. Severe pain, bloody urine and vomiting are just three of the awful symptoms.
But even worse, they're increasing in children.
"The rate is increasing at about 5% per year. So, it's a dramatic increase," said Dr. Gregory Tasian, attending urologist at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
And those who have stones have a 50% risk of developing another one within five to seven years. Risk factors for kids include being overweight, being dehydrated and being prescribed unnecessary antibiotics.
"Right now, we know that there's these five antibiotics that are associated with kidney stones, mainly cephalosporins, as you said, broad-spectrum penicillins, which is something like Augmentin," Tasian said.
Risk also increases during temperature extremes, so make sure your child drinks extra fluids in the heat of the summer and cold of winter.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggests putting your child on the DASH diet – rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods – to decrease the risk of developing stones.
Small kidney stones may pass at home with extra fluids. For others, you may need medication or shock wave therapy to break up the stone, or a ureteroscopy.
But you should not wait longer than six weeks if trying to pass it on your own.
PREVENTING KIDNEY STONES IN KIDS
BACKGROUND: When high levels of certain minerals occur in urine, a kidney stone is likely to form. Kidney stones are hard, pebble-like pieces of material that form in one or both kidneys. They rarely cause permanent damage if treated by a health care professional. Kidney stones can also vary in size and shape and may be smooth or jagged and usually are yellow or brown. A small kidney stone may pass through the urinary tract on its own, causing little or no pain. A larger kidney stone may get stuck along the way. When this happens, it can block the flow of urine causing severe pain or bleeding. A child who has symptoms of kidney stones including severe pain, blood in the urine, or vomiting needs care right away. A health care professional, such as a urologist, can treat any pain and determine how and when to treat the kidney stone. They may also prescribe medicine to prevent further problems or treat a urinary tract infection. (Source: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones-children/definition-facts)
TYPES OF KIDNEY STONES IN CHILDREN: The number of children affected by kidney stones has grown steadily during the last several years. Changing eating habits may be responsible, especially the rise in the amount of sodium children eat through processed foods and table salt. The rise in obesity and less active lifestyles may also cause more children to have kidney stones. Children can develop one of four main types of kidney stones. Calcium stones are the most common types of kidney stones in children. Calcium from food does not increase the chance of having calcium stones. Normally, calcium that isn't taken up by a child's bones and muscles goes to the kidneys and is flushed out with urine. So, in some children, the kidneys leak extra calcium which can join with other waste products to form a kidney stone. A uric acid stone may form when a child's urine contains too much uric acid. Struvite stones may form after an infection in the upper urinary tract, where the kidneys are found. These stones can develop suddenly and become large quickly. Finally, cystine stones result from a disorder called, cystinuria, which is passed down through families. The child's kidneys leak large amounts of cysteine, an amino acid. Cystine crystals can then form in the urine and cause stones. (Source: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones-children/definition-facts)
RECENT INNOVATIONS IN KIDNEY STONE TREATMENT: Research and new technologies have emerged in recent years that are improving kidney stone surgery in a variety of ways: new holmium laser technologies, miniaturized surgery, and disposable ureteroscopes. A high-powered laser uses a patented technology called "Moses" to make it easier to remove kidney stones. With Moses, the stone doesn't move as much after the laser hits it, therefore making it easier for surgeons to break down stones without damaging surrounding tissues and cause bleeding. In a procedure for larger kidney stones called percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL), surgeons make small incisions in the lower back, and then use a small camera and instruments to break up and remove the stones. With this technique, incisions and instruments are smaller. New single-use, disposable ureteroscopes ("scopes") have the potential to give more patients access to ureteroscopy to treat their stones. Re-usable scopes are expensive, and smaller hospitals often have only one or two scopes. With single-use scopes, this is not a concern because the scope is only used once. (Source: https://www.urologyhealth.org/careblog/recent-innovations-in-kidney-stone-treatment)