Kidney stones are something you usually see in middle aged people; But what has gotten the attention of doctors is a steep rise in kidney stones in kids. Dr. Bruce Hensel reported.
"Kidney stones are small hard masses of mineral and acid salts that separate from the urine and solidify in the kidney. They are on the rise in children. There are reasons, and solutions," Dr. Hensel said.
"Sometimes they're like triangles sorta. Kinda like little pebbles."
That's how eight-year-old Gianni Belson decribed his kidney stones.
"When I peed it was like stinging. not a good memory for me," he added.
Cedars Sinai Pediatric Urologist Dr. Barry Duel says he is seeing more and more kids coming to his clinic with kidney stones.
"We saw 3 new stone patients alone last week," Duel said.
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And it's happening across the country. The reason for the rise?
While the majority get them because of congenital conditions, like Gianni, pediatric urologists believe most of the recent rise in kidney stones is because of childhood obesity and the American diet: "Lot of fat, lot of sodium, lot of processed food, not enough fresh foods, not as much whole grain, not as much fiber," Duel said.
That's why he formed the Kidney Stone Clinic at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.
"We have office hours where we all see patients together so the stone patients can be seen by the pediatric urologist, the pediatric nephrologist, the pediatric nutritionist whoever else they need all in one setting," Duel said.
Techniques for treating kidney stones include using laserbeams or shockwaves to break up the stone inside the kidney.
The best treatment, though, is old fashioned water; And, fresh lemonade.
"That has a lot of citric acid, which is a very strong inhibitor, it prevents the most common type of stone from forming. so for a lot of children, the prevention is as simple as that," Duel said.
Gianni's kidney stone was treated, and he has advice for other kids who have kidney stones and who are scared: "I would just say, you can be scared. It's fine."
Some other tips to avoid kidney stones: Again, drink lots of water, especially if you take Vitamin C. Cut down on colas; They have oxalates that may form stones. If your kid does get stones, see a urologist to make sure there's no metabolic reason for it; most stones can be prevented," Dr. Hensel said.
Cedars Sinai Medical Center