Information on conditions unique to girls and young women can be found at
Kidney stones in children are relatively uncommon, but they’re on the rise.
Kidney stones are the result of chemicals in the child’s urine becoming concentrated and forming solid crystals. Over time, the crystals can build up and become stones. These small, hard deposits can obstruct urine drainage and may cause pain.
Most of the time, kidney stones are found in the kidney or ureter (the tube that connects the kidney and bladder).
The pediatric urologists with Norton Children’s Urology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, are fellowship trained in pediatric and adolescent urology specialty care. They have the expertise to treat kidney stones in children and to know when the condition will resolve itself without treatment.
We have state-of-the-art equipment that is not available elsewhere in Louisville and Southern Indiana. We also are able to provide sedation.
Our specialists bring skill, respect and sensitivity to caring for your child’s urological needs.
There are different types of kidney stones with various causes. Most types are more common in boys than girls. Causes include:
Dehydration: If your child doesn’t drink enough fluids, the urine can become concentrated and dark. This increases the chance for crystals to form because there is less fluid available to dissolve them.
Poor diet: The type of food your child eats can affect the chances of getting kidney stones. A high-protein diet can increase acid in the body. This decreases the amount of urinary citrate, a “good” chemical that helps prevent stones. A high-salt diet is another risk factor.
Family history of stones: If a parent or sibling has had kidney stones, it increases the chance of a child having stones.
Kidney stones can affect children in different ways. Young children in particular may have vague symptoms.
Small stones that remain in the kidney are sometimes painless, but they can be the source of urinary tract infections. A kidney stone may cause these symptoms if they move around within the kidney or pass into the ureter:
The Norton Children’s Urology physicians will ask about your child’s symptoms and take a careful medical history. We will review your child’s diet, water intake, family history of kidney stones and any history of conditions that can affect the kidneys or urinary tract.
Your child’s doctor will perform a physical exam and may order blood and urine tests. Imaging tests such as ultrasounds, X-rays or CT scans often are used to get a better look at the kidneys. If a stone is present, imaging tests can show its size and precise location, which can help us determine the best course of treatment.
Treatment for kidney stones depends on the size and type of stones, what’s causing them and the severity of symptoms.
Small stones may pass without treatment. If treatment is required, options include medications to relax the ureter to allow stones to pass, or one of several minimally invasive procedures.