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The early diagnosis of kidney stones in children, essential to preventing recurrence in adulthood

Posted on 12-01-2022

Kidney stones, the presence of stones in the urinary tract, in children is increasingly common and is a consequence of environmental and dietary changes, with the consequent problems in detecting and treating the condition, which is why Hospiten has the professionals and the technical means to deal with the problem.

This early diagnostic work, says pediatrician and expert in pediatric nephrology at the Hospiten Rambla University Hospital, Dr. Federico Gentile, "allows us to prevent structural lesions in the kidney or urinary tract at a very early age, although the introduction of non-invasive surgical techniques, like endoscopy and pediatric lithotripsy, are an important therapeutic advance”.

It should be taken into account that the onset of this condition varies depending on the patient and their age, but there are usually symptoms of renal colic with lumbar pain radiating to the iliac fossa, the perineal and genital area, with problems urinating, blood in the urine, nausea and vomiting.

In infants and young children, the presence of a stone in the urinary tract can cause non-specific symptoms like irritability, crying, dark urine, gastrointestinal upsets or a high temperature due to urinary tract infection.

Dr. Gentile emphasizes that these pathologies persist and can often recur in adulthood if the causes are not diagnosed and treated early on.

Dr. Federico Gentile points out that the incidence and prevalence figures for the disease in children are difficult to collect due to the non-specific nature of the symptoms, especially in younger children, which makes diagnosis difficult. Nevertheless, recent data warn of an increase in cases of pediatric lithiasis worldwide, especially among adolescents between 14-18 years of age, and that in Spain, these cases are behind one in every 5,500 hospital admissions.

It should be borne in mind that the development of urinary stones generally involves a combination of two types of factors - endogenous, like genetic alterations, genitourinary malformation or metabolic diseases and environmental, like urinary tract infections, climate-related factors, lifestyle and nutritional factors. Children’s eating habits are also involved, affecting not only the incidence of stones, but also their composition and location.

Dr. Gentile adds that to treat the condition, it is essential the patient be put in the hands of a professional, who will ensure adequate water intake and design a treatment aimed at correcting this, so as to counteract any imbalance between the different components of the urine.

Hospiten therefore recommends early diagnosis of renal lithiasis by means of detailed medical study, urine analysis, comprehensive metabolic evaluation and a renal ultrasound.