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Kidney Stones in Children

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Definition & Facts

A kidney stone is a solid, pebble-like piece of material that can form in a child’s kidney when minerals in the urine are too high. Kidney stones rarely cause permanent damage if treated by a health care professional.

diagram of kidney stones (painful crystaline mineral formations) in the human kidney

Symptoms & Causes

A child or teen with a kidney stone may feel a sharp pain in the back, side, lower abdomen, or groin; or may have blood in the urine. A small kidney stone that easily passes through the urinary tract may cause no symptoms at all.


Medical professionals use a child’s symptoms, medical history, a physical exam, and tests to diagnose a kidney stone. Tests may also be able to show problems that caused a kidney stone to form.

Treatment & Prevention

Extra fluids may help a child’s kidney stone pass. When there’s strong pain or a larger stone, health care professionals may remove the kidney stone or break it into pieces. Children may be able to prevent stones by drinking enough water, eating differently, or taking medicine.

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition

A child who has kidney stones should drink plenty of water unless told differently by a health care professional. Children may be able to prevent future kidney stones by changing how much sodium, animal protein, calcium, or oxalate they consume.

Clinical Trials

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and other components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct and support research into many diseases and conditions.

The Urinary Tract & How It Works

The urinary tract is the body’s drainage system for removing urine, which is composed of wastes and extra fluid. In order for normal urination to occur, all body parts in the urinary tract need to work together in the correct order.

Related Research

Last Reviewed May 2017

This content is provided as a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIDDK translates and disseminates research findings to increase knowledge and understanding about health and disease among patients, health professionals, and the public. Content produced by NIDDK is carefully reviewed by NIDDK scientists and other experts.

The NIDDK would like to thank:
Michael J.G. Somers, MD; Harvard Medical School; Michelle A. Baum, MD, Harvard Medical School; Jeffrey M. Saland, MD, MSCR, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai