Kids & Kidney Disease: Know the Symptoms

Kids & Kidney Disease: Know the Symptoms

Kids & Kidney Disease: Know the Symptoms

The kidneys play a critical role in the body. It acts as the body's waste collection and disposal system. As a filtering system, it helps control water levels and eliminate wastes through urine. It regulates the blood pressure, red blood cell production, and the levels of calcium and minerals. Is your grown-up child still wetting his/her bed? Instead of scolding your child, you must find out the reason behind it. The cause may be physical. Often parents think that bedwetting is a behavioural issue. However, there can be an underlying problem like a kidney disease which can cause kidneys to make too much urine that a bladder can hold.

The functioning of kidneys may be disturbed. It may be acute caused by bacterial infection, injury, shock, heart failure, poisoning, or drug overdose or chronic due to birth defects, chronic kidney diseases, or chronic severe high blood pressure

Kidney diseases presenting at birth:

Posterior urethral valve obstruction: This narrowing or obstruction of the urethra affects only boys. It can be diagnosed before the baby is born or just after. Treatment is surgical in this case.
Fetal hydronephrosis: This enlargement of one or both of the kidneys is caused by either an obstruction in the developing urinary tract or a condition called vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) in which urine abnormally flows backward (or refluxes) from the bladder into the ureters. Fetal hydronephrosis is usually diagnosed before the child is born and treatment varies widely. In some cases the condition only requires ongoing monitoring; in others, surgery must be done to clear the obstruction from the urinary tract.

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD): This is a condition in which many fluid-filled cysts develop in both kidneys. The cysts can multiply so much and grow so large that they lead to kidney failure. Most forms of PKD are inherited. Doctors can diagnose it before or after the child is born. In some cases, there are no symptoms; in others, PKD can lead to UTIs, kidney stones, and high blood pressure. Treatment for PKD varies — some cases can be managed with dietary changes; others require a kidney transplant or dialysis.

Multicystic kidney disease (MKD): This is when large cysts develop in a kidney that hasn't developed properly, eventually causing it to stop working. (While PKD always affects both kidneys, MKD usually affects just one kidney.) Fortunately, the unaffected kidney takes over and most people with MKD will have normal kidney function. MKD usually is diagnosed by prenatal ultrasound before birth. Doctors manage it by monitoring blood pressure and screening for UTIs when needed. Very rarely, surgical removal of the kidney might be necessary.

Duplication of the ureters: This is a condition in which a kidney has two ureters instead of one. This can lead to urinary tract infections over time and can be treated with medication or, in some cases, with surgery.

Horseshoe kidney: This is a condition  where the two kidneys are fused (connected) into one arched kidney that usually functions normally, but is more prone to develop problems later in life. An uncomplicated horseshoe kidney does not need medical or surgical treatment, but it does need to be checked regularly by doctors.

Kidney diseases presenting due to other underlying systemic cause:

  • High blood pressure (hypertension)

  • Kidney stones

  • Nephritis. This is any inflammation of the kidney. It can be caused by infection, an autoimmune disease (such as lupus), or an unknown reason. The first symptoms of nephritis usually are high levels of protein and blood in the urine.

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Here are a few of the symptoms that you should look out for:

  • fever

  • swelling around the eyes, face, feet, and ankles (called edema)

  • burning or pain during urination

  • significant increase in the frequency of urination

  • difficulty in controlling urination in kids who are mature enough to use the toilet

  • recurrence of night time bedwetting (in kids who have been dry for several months)

  • blood in the urine

  • high blood pressure

A pediatric nephrologist is the best person to suggest the course of action. To diagnose a case investigations including blood tests, biopsy and imaging studies like USG, CT scan, voiding cystourethrogram, renal nuclear scan. In some cases, the doctor may suggest medications while in serious cases, dialysis and kidney transplant may be required.

Learning about kidney diseases and the warning signs can help you seek medical attention for your child at the earliest.

If you want to see a pediatrician or a child specialist in Kolkata, visit Bhagirathi Neotia Woman & Child Care Centre, New Town. Our pediatricians are well-experienced and the hospital is one of the best childbirth hospitals in Kolkata.

To book an appointment, call us at 03333235057
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