The kidneys play an essential role in the human body. The two kidney bean-shaped organs remove waste from the blood and turn it into the urine. The kidneys also help to control blood pressure and regulate the mineral content in our blood, as well as the production of red blood cells. If the kidneys don’t function properly, then they can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, which will require medical treatment.
Unfortunately, the amount of kids suffering from kidney disease has increased over the past twenty years. In this post, we will look at the symptoms and treatment of kidney disease in children.
Different Types of Kidney Disease
There are many different kinds of kidney diseases that kids can get, and if they are left untreated, they can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD).
The most common types of childhood kidney diseases include:
- Polycystic kidney disease (PKD): This kidney disease is often inherited from parents and results in fluid-filled cysts appearing on the kidneys. PKD can usually be diagnosed before birth and doesn’t always cause symptoms.
- Multicystic kidney disease (MKD): This condition can cause large cysts to form on one of the kidneys. It will eventually stop working, but if the other kidney is functioning correctly, then it might not cause any severe problems to the child’s health.
- Fetal hydronephrosis: This condition leads to one or both kidneys becoming enlarged because of an obstruction in the urinary tract. Again, it is usually present at birth.
- Glomerulonephritis: When a child has this kidney disease, the kidneys are unable to clean the blood properly.
Other kidney diseases include:
- Wilms Tumor
- Renal Tubular Acidosis
- Posterior Urethral Valve Obstruction
Causes of Kidney Disease
Many kidney issues are usually present at birth, with birth defects and hereditary diseases being the leading cause in younger children. Birth defects, such as having only one kidney or one functioning kidney, may lead to kidney disease, but many kids never have any problems.
Other causes of kidney diseases in children include:
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Trauma to the kidneys—injuries, dehydration, or surgery complications
- Urinary tract blockage
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus
Issues like regular urinary tract infections and kidney stones can also have a significant effect on the kidneys, although if they are treated promptly, they shouldn’t cause any lasting damage.
Symptoms of Kidney Disease
If a child has problems with their kidney, then they may display some of the following symptoms:
- A burning sensation or pain during peeing
- Increased frequency of toilet trips
- Blood in the urine
- High blood pressure
Kids with kidney problems may have problems controlling their bladders, and you may notice nighttime bed-wetting.
Treatment for Kidney Diseases
The way kidney disease is treated will depend on the cause and the general health of the child. When an infection causes the symptoms, then this can usually be managed by antibiotics or other medicines. Likewise, if there are issues in the urinary tract, then there are a variety of medical interventions available.
When a child has a congenital disability, there may be no symptoms, but your doctor will always recommend monitoring their health and development, as kidney problems can lead to high blood pressure and anemia. If this is the case, then they may have to take medicine to help regulate it.
If the disease is causing severe complications or leading to kidney failure, then a kidney transplant might be the best option.