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High number of Indian children affected by kidney stones (Expert speak)

Written by Dr Pankaj Deshpande |Updated : March 9, 2015 6:26 PM IST

children kidney problemsAs a parent it can be quite alarming to learn that your child has kidney stones. Although Kidney stones are one of the most common health problems we hear about these days, the fact that a child can also suffer from kidney stones can be quite scary.pankaj deshpandeAccording to western literature the numbers of kidney stones in children are low, but in India the numbers of cases are on a steady rise.Dr Pankaj Deshpande, a renowned Pediatric Nephrologist helps us understand the condition, its diagnosis and treatment better.

Kidney stones also known as renal calculi, are small solid masses, crystalline in structure and are made up of dietary minerals in the urine.

How are they formed?

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Urine contains various substances. While some promote stone formation, others inhibit it. For example calcium and oxalate in the urine promote stone formation while magnesium and citrate inhibit stone formation. If the concentration of these minerals is not balanced there is a possibility of stone formation.

Read more about causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones.

Why my child?

Although these are very basic concepts, they have been forgotten in our daily life.

  • The most common reason for stone formation is inadequate intake of water. A low amount of water in the body causes the kidneys to overwork, leading toan increase in the concentration of stone promoting substances.
  • Similarly if the child doesn't eat enough fruits , the citrate content in his/her urine goes down (a stone inhibiting substance) and therefore may form stones.
  • Another reasonis an increase in junk food consumption (increase in sodium intake) which causes an increased level of sodium in the urine, promoting stone formation.

Do certain foods increase the incidence of stone formation?

According to experts there is no such food that particularly promotes or inhibits stone formation, so restricting your child's diet is not the solution to the problem.

70% of stone formation is due to metabolic reasons, and unless the doctors identify a high amount of sodium or calcium in your child's urine there is no reason to shun any kind of food.

What to look out for: Here are a few symptoms that your child may have, if he/she has kidney stones.

  • Blood in the urine (which may look like the urine is 'red-coloured')
  • Pain in the abdomen
  • Pain while passing urine

Treatment options:

Stones that are small (lesser than 5mm) can be passed in the urine, with the help of medication and drinking lots of water.

If the stone is larger than 5mm, it may require surgical intervention. The surgical options are as follows:

  • Lithotripsy: This technique uses sound waves to break down the stone into smaller pieces, so that they can be easily passed through the urine. This is an absolutely non-invasive and painless.
  • PCNL(Percutaneous stone removal): It is highly effective in removal of very large and complex kidney stones without the need to make a large incision on the patient.
  • Endourological Stone treatment: The stone is removed with the help of an endoscope through the urinary tract.

These surgeries are minimally invasiveand your child may need to stay in the hospital for about a day.

If you have any more questions regarding your child's health, please feel free to send us a question in our 'Ask an expert' section.

For more articles on kidney stones , visit our kidney stones section. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all the latest updates! For daily free health tips, sign up for our newsletter. And to join discussions on health topics of your choice, visit our forum.

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