When children and teenagers have abdominal or stomach pains, most parents and many doctors don't think of kidney stones. An article by John Foreman, M.D. states that the "incidence of kidney stones is increasing dramatically, especially in teenagers."
The author says that there has been a three to five-fold increase of kidney stones in the last fifteen years, especially in teenage girls.This is interesting because in adults, men have more kidney stones than women. It is also important to note that African-American kids have few kidney stones, unless they have a syndrome such as Lesch-Nyhan Syndorme. I cared for a teenager with this syndrome and Dr. Nyhan, whom I know, was great about guiding my hand in caring for this nice youth.
Dr. Foreman said that no one is quite sure why this increase in kidney stones has occurred. It could be due to the increase in obesity that we are seeing and also to the fast food diet that many families and kids live on. Unfortunately, kidney stones in kids may be hard to diagnose because fifty-percent of kids don't have localized abdominal pain or they may not have blood in their urine like adults. If a child is under the age of six, the stones may be associated with a urinary tract infection. I find that doctors who see children do not check urines as frequently as they should, nor do they get urine cultures. These are simple tests that are very frequently overlooked. A smart parent may have to demand that these be done. The cause of a kidney stone should always be explored once it is removed because there could be an underlying metabolic disorder.