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Kidney stones are composed of hard concentrations of minerals and other elements that are usually found in urine. These stones will normally form in the kidney, before being passed down into the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Although rare, it is possible for kidney stones to form within the bladder.
Kidney stones can be of various sizes, smaller ones can be passed from the body without much pain or discomfort. However, a bigger stone may become jammed in the urinary tract and cause a blockage that does not allow urine to pass through. Larger stones can result in serious pain and blood can be seen in the urine.
The urinary tract, which contains two kidneys, a bladder, urethra and two ureters, allows the body to drain out excess wastes and water. The kidneys are bean-shaped and each one is about fist-sized, located under the ribs with one on each side of the spine. Every minute, the kidneys will filter about three ounces of blood, and remove waste and extra fluid.
How Common Are Kidney Stones In Children?
There is no scientific evidence or studies that show how common kidney stones are in children. However, many kidney specialists report seeing more children who have this condition in recent years. While kidney stones may occur more often in adults, they can happen in infants, young children and teens from all ethnicities and races.
Causes Of Kidney Stones In Kids
It’s possible for kidney stones to form when substances in the urine become highly concentrated. The following things can cause kidney stones in children:
- Urinary tract defects that block the flow of urine and creates pools. When urine becomes stagnant, trapped substances begin forming into stones. Up to a third of children who experience kidney stones have an anatomical defect involving the urinary tract.
- Children who are stricken with a metabolic illness could be more prone to developing kidney stones. The body will go through metabolizing nutrients in foods for energy and it removes the wastes that are not needed. The most common form of metabolic malady that could result in childhood kidney stones is hypercalcuiria, which results in extra calcium being stored and eliminated in the urine.
- Unhealthy lifestyle choices can increase a child's risk of developing kidney stones. Not drinking enough water or drinking the wrong types of fluids can make the urine more concentrated. Too much salt in the diet can contribute to more chemicals being present in the urine, and it can cause an increase in stones. Some doctors feel that increased rates of obesity, an increase in sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets may be causing more children to have kidney stones.
- Urinary tract infections can result in kidney stones in children. Certain kinds of bacteria that are in the urinary tract breakdown urea, which is a waste product filtered from the bloodstream and into the kidneys. These substances can form into kidney stones.