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Kidney Stones in Children

Why are children getting kidney stones? Until recently, kidney stones were mostly an affliction of adults. Now more and more children are showing up in hospital emergency rooms in extreme pain from kidney stones. There have been many explanations: One doctor suggested it could simply be awareness of the problem, another suggested it was eating too much salt, another thought it was a lack of water being taken in. Most likely, all three are right.

Whatever the answer, pediatricians and urologists are now aware of these unusual phenomena and are looking for answers. Of course, they explain, its still not a large problem but larger than last year or the year before. The New York Times author, Laurie Tarkan reported “older doctors” as saying in the 70s and 80s a child was brought in excruciating pain from kidney stones, now it’s more like one a week.

Although the medical profession is keenly aware something is going on here and that something they believe to be dietary, they are looking further for answers. They tend to see it somehow connected to the obesity epidemic. Others say that’s not necessarily the case. Most of the children brought in seem otherwise fit and healthy. There’s no difference in treatment for kidney stones between older people and children. Both groups are eating far too much salt, not getting enough water, and are often inactive.

Kidney stones are of four different varieties. The most abundant of this group is composed of calcium oxalate and most of its victims are men. Causes are too much calcium and often too much Vitamin D. Some medications can lead to formation of these stones.

The second variety of stones is labeled struvite stones. These are composed of magnesium ammonium phosphate crystals. Women mostly get this type of stones. These are sometimes present in canned foods and have the appearance of glass. Struvite crystals are easily dissolved in vinegar. However, in the kidneys, they can enlarge to an enormous size and are particularly harmful to kidneys.

And then there are uric acid stones. The causative here is eating too much animal protein but they too are probably programmed by genetics. Uric acid is to blame for gout, that painful large toe inflammatory process where crystals form around the largest toe joint. It is caused by eating too much high protein foods, especially animal protein.

The most rare kidney rocks are formed from cystine. The disease, cystinuria is a condition where a sulfur carrying amino acid forms into kidney stones. Likewise it is a hereditary disorder where metabolism is at fault.

Lifestyles plus hereditary influences may be what is allowing more children- and adults – to be seen with this type of problem. The balance of nature is being disrupted not only in the earth, air, sky, and water, but in the human body. After all aren’t we simply living particles of the earth, too? The differences being we are supposed to be intelligent enough to recognize what’s taking place. And what’s taking place everywhere is an unbalance. And it’s making us sick. The problem is how can we heal?

The good doctors tell us to drink plenty of water. Leave off excess salt and other known sources of kidney stone formation other than calcium. Calcium is needed and is not, in all probability, conducive to kidney stones. Other factors in the body are more to blame. And as parents who suffer from kidney stones or have a child prone to this affliction, pay particular attention to your/their lifestyle and see if you can pinpoint the reason for the stones. Your health care team will welcome whatever information you pass their way.