Frequently Asked Questions
What are the kidneys?
Kidneys are 2 bean shaped organs sitting at the back near the spine. They produce urine to clear the blood from toxins and waste salts.
What is a kidney stone?
It is actually a real stone which forms and stays in the kidney. The stones are usually small – a few millimetres – but can sometimes grow as big as several centimeters.
What are the crystals?
Crystals (sand, gravel) appear when waste salts can’t dissolve in urine. Sometimes crystals don’t cause any problems; sometimes they stick together and make a stone.
I thought that kidney stones could only happen in adults?
Kidney stones are much more common in adults. Unfortunately, they can also affect children and, today, happens more often than it did 20 years ago. This is may be partly related to the modern diet and the amount of table salt we eat.
Are all kidney stones the same?
No, they are not. There are five main types of stones and several different mixtures and varieties. It is important to establish what the stones are made of, as different types have different treatments.
What causes stones?
Sometimes it is as simple as not drinking enough fluids. In other cases there can be a problem with the body's over-production of calcium and other waste salts. Another possibility is a lack of stone-preventing substances which should normally be present in the urine. Occasionally, stones are caused by a continuous urinary tract infection.
What happens to stones?
Usually, stones smaller than 5 mm will be passed naturally. Bigger stones might require an operation or can be broken down with special ‘shock’ waves.
Who can come to pediatric kidney stone clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital?
Any child or young adult under 18 years old with history kidney stone, who is referred by a medical professional.
Who am I going to see at pediatric kidney stone clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital?
You will be seen by Dr. Vladimir Belostotsky, a Pediatric Nephrologist, who will be assisted by Sharon Bobzener, a Nephrology Clinic Nurse. If required, you will also meet Sindy Ng, our Pediatric Kidney Dietitian.
How often does the clinic run?
The Pediatric Nephrology Stone Clinic happens once a month, on the first Friday of the month.
What to expect in pediatric stone clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital?
We will perform extensive urine and blood tests in order to establish the cause of stone formation. Once the results are available we will advise you on the strategies which will help to reduce the risk of making another stone or try to prevent the existing stone from growing. We will then see you in the clinic on a regular basis to monitor the situation with ultrasound scans and repeated urine collections.
What do I need to bring to stone clinic?
Please bring your OHIP card, and your disc with your ultrasound scans if they were done in other institutions.
If you passed a stone and kept it, please bring it as well. We will send it for analysis to the state-of-the-art stone reference laboratory at Hamilton General Hospital, which provides stone analysis for Ontario, and is one of the largest labratories of its kind in Canada.
What if my stone is too big to come out itself?
We work closely with the Pediatric Urology team, Professor DeMaria and Dr. Braga, and we will refer you to their service for an assessment of stone removal options.