Specialists at the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital are treating more children who have kidney stones. Dr. Patrick Brophy, a pediatric kidney specialist at the U-of-I, says the uptick in the number of children with the painful condition wasn’t a big surprise as it mirrors a national trend.
In recent years, he says there’s been an increase in children with kidney stones or certainly the initial phases of kidney stone formation. Dr. Brophy says, "It’s likely due from an environmental change and probably the biggest thing that’s changed is our diet." He says: "Children are taking in a lot more sodium than they used to and we have not been really keen on promoting a lot of water intake. A lot of the drinks we have have a fair amount of sodium in them as well. The more sodium you have in your diet, if you have a predisposition to kidney stones, as some families do, you can certainly have the development of calcium-based kidney stones."
Symptoms may include: blood in the urine, pain in the groin or side, and feeling the urge to urinate but not being able to produce any. Fortunately, he says, there is a plus side to kidney stones. "It’s one of the few diseases we can actually treat with a simple change in our diet — decreasing the amount of salt we take in and increasing the amount of water we drink," Brophy says. "Often, once the stones are gone, you can maintain people stone-free if you’re able to adhere to this diet."
He says it’s one of the most simple and least-expensive treatments and preventions for any medical condition — eat less salt and drink more water.