A lot of things have been said about the way physicians treat kidney stones. Joe Cosgrove has addressed this particular issue in previous articles; however, there seems to be not enough information on how physicians and healthcare professionals, in general, treat kidney stones in children. As mentioned before in this blog, doctors and physicians treat kidney stones after assessing three different aspects: their size, the type, and their location. Small stones often go through an individual’s urinary duct without major complications and without having patients go through dreary treatments. Children, for instance, may need to filter their urine (sometimes they are required to urinate through a filter, known as a strainer, for this matter) for quite some time in hopes of separating the stone. Once the stone has been caught, physicians carry out a lot of analysis to determine its type. Just like with adults, children are also required to increase their liquid intake to help remove the kidney stone. Nonetheless, since the pain commonly associated with suffering from kidney stones is quite high, children are often prescribed strong pain medicines. Larger stones, nonetheless, especially those capable of blocking a kid’s urinary tract, cause great amounts of pain, and they certainly need an alternative treatment.
Removing the stone
Urologists can get rid of kidney stones or break them into small particles using the following techniques and treatments:
Also known as shockwave lithotripsy, this technique is applied from outside the patient’s body to break the stone into much smaller particles. The smaller the pieces, the easier they can go through the child’s urinary duct. A physician normally administers a certain amount of anesthetic during the ambulatory procedure in hopes of sparing the child possible pain.
Ureteroscopy and cystoscopy
These treatments, or rather techniques, involve exploration. During a cystoscopy, physicians use a small and thin tube equipped with a lens at one of its ends to explore the area and the bladder in hopes of finding kidney stones. During a ureteroscopy, a much longer device is utilized to explore the patient’s lining of both the kidneys and the ureters.
Both procedures can be, to some extent, nagging. Physicians, during both procedures, insert the scope via the individual’s urethra in order for them to have a much bigger picture of this area. Once they locate the stone, it can be either broken into smaller particles or removed, depending on the size. Both procedures do not require children to stay more than a day in the hospital.
A nephroscope is a thin instrument used by physicians to find and subsequently remove kidney stones. A doctor inserts this instrument into the kid’s kidney through a minor cut commonly carried out in the patient’s back. When treating much larger and bigger stones, a laser is normally used to disintegrate the kidney stone into tinier particles. Doctors carry out this procedure in a clinic, and the patient is required to receive anesthesia. Unlike the two aforementioned procedures, patients undergoing this method, especially children, are required to stay at the medical facility for several days so that they can recover properly.
After carrying out these procedures, urologists and healthcare professionals, in general, leave a urethral stent in the kid’s urinary duct to help them urinate so that they can get rid of the stone. Once the nagging stone has come out of the body, it is assessed in hopes of determining its type. Sometimes children are required to gather urine for up to 24 hours after the stone has left the body or removed. The objective here is to determine the amount of urine the patient manages to produce in a single day. Children who do not produce enough urine during a 24 hour period are more prone to develop kidney stones again. This is why, aside from the amount of urine, physicians pay special attention to mineral levels, as they are deeply correlated with stone formation.
Can stones be prevented?
As mentioned in previous articles, to avoid kidney stones, especially in children, and depending on the reason why a stone appeared in the first place, a physician may suggest several alternatives to prevent future episodes. In children, liquid intake is unquestionably the most important aspect parents should pay special attention to.
Have your kid drink plenty of liquids
Drinking plenty liquids is vital and key if the idea is to prevent the formation of kidney stones. It is, perhaps, the most crucial habit with such objective in mind. By increasing liquid intake, the urine becomes more diluted and flushes away particles that might end up becoming a bothering kidney stone. Teenagers should drink seven to eight glasses per day (unless they suffer from any degree of kidney failure, of course). There are medicines, but since the idea is to keep children away from unnecessary medicines, depending on each case, of course, enough water is the right way to start improving a kid’s lifestyle.
* Featured Image courtesy of Lukas at Pexels.com