Kidney Stones in Children

Kids and Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are hard crystals or deposits that form inside of the kidneys when salts and other minerals in the urine bond together. In children, kidney stones are relatively uncommon, but high sodium diets have been shown to increase the occurrence of stones. Kidney stones can cause a child pain and may obstruct the flow of urine as the stone attempts to move into the ureter (tube that connects the kidney and bladder).

Symptoms of a Kidney Stone

A child with a kidney stone may complain or have one or all of the following symptoms:

  • Pain in the abdomen, side, or back
  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea and/or vomiting

Diagnosing a Kidney Stone

Kidney stones can affect each child differently, depending on your child’s age, the size of the stone, and if the stone has started to pass out of the kidney and into the ureter. If your child is experiencing pain and also has blood in his or her urine, it is important to have your child evaluated by a doctor.

Based upon your child’s symptoms and level of discomfort, a pediatric urologist will order an ultrasound or X-ray to confirm a diagnosis of a kidney stone. Ultrasound is a painless imaging study performed by the specially trained pediatric sonographers at Chesapeake Urology for Children that shows your child’s doctor the size and location of any stones.

Treating Kidney Stones

Many stones will be able to pass without surgical intervention. Your doctor may prescribe your child pain relievers to help ease the discomfort as the stone passes through your child’s urinary tract. In less common situations, surgery to remove the stone may be required, especially if the stone is too large to pass. Follow up with a pediatric nephrologist will be recommended to prevent recurring kidney stones. In cases of large kidney stones, a pediatric nephrologist may also be consulted to evaluate kidney function prior to treatment.

How Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented?

Preventing kidney stones in a child starts with determining why the stones are forming in the first place. Dr. Adam Kern has some tips for parents to help prevent kidney stones in kids.

Prevention Tips


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