Kidney Stones in Children

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are also known as renal calculi or nephrolithiasis. They typically occur in adults, but can affect children as well and can occur even in babies. Kidney stones form when high amounts of certain substances accumulate in the kidneys, forming crystals or a stone. Certain stones are caused by other diseases but many are related to diet and nutrition. Some doctors note anecdotal evidence that more children are getting this condition, possibly due to too much salt in their diets. 

Types of Kidney Stones

  • Calcium stones are the most common type, usually caused by high intake of certain substances, such as salt.
  • Cystine stones can form in people who have cystinuria, an inherited disorder, marked by increased formation of stones in the bladder, kidney and ureter.
  • Struvite stones most often occur in women who have urinary tract infections.
  • Urica acid stones can occur with gout or after chemotherapy.


  • Intense pain in the lower back and/or in the sides
  • Frequent, painful urination
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Blood in the urine and/or cloudy urine
  • Urinary tract infections secondary to kidney stones accompanied by fever


Once the stone is found, it should be analyzed to determine what type of stone it is.


Most stones pass down the urinary tract on their own and are eventually expelled. Pain relievers, often potent ones, are needed to manage the pain. Increased fluid intake will help the stone to pass. Antibiotics may be given if the stone causes a urinary tract infection Stones that don’t pass need to be removed surgically. Dietary changes and drinking plenty of fluids are recommended to prevent recurrence.

When to Call for Help

If your child shows any signs suggestive of a kidney stone, call your pediatrician.

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