What are urinary tract stones?

Urinary tract stones, which often are referred to as "kidney stones," are small, hard stones that can form in the kidneys, ureter, bladder, or urethra. These stones are relatively common in adults but are rare in children. When they occur in children, they may be caused by an underlying metabolic problem or an anatomical abnormality (such as a reconstructed urinary tract or a surgically augmented bladder.)

What are the symptoms of urinary tract stones?

In adults, the most common sign of a kidney or bladder stone is pain during urination, but in children, there may not be any symptoms. Often, urinary tract stones in children aren't found until the child undergoes an X-ray or ultrasound for another reason. Other times, there are symptoms, such as:

  • Pain during urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in the urine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain

How are they treated?

When the stones cause pain, medications are available to help make your child more comfortable. Whether or not the stones cause pain, they must be removed because over time they can grow in size and obstruct the urinary tract, cause damage, and even result in loss of a kidney. Sometimes, if the stone is small enough, it will pass naturally. Other times, a surgeon will need to remove it.

About surgery for urinary tract stones at Children's

The pediatric urology surgery team at Children's provides next-generation care to neonatal infants, newborns, children, and adolescents from throughout the Upper Midwest. The team consistently performs some of the most cutting-edge surgical procedures available, including newborn surgery, minimally invasive surgery, and robotic surgery, when appropriate. Urologic surgery is performed at Children's - Minneapolis, Children's - St. Paul and Children's West.

  • If you are a family member looking for a Children's specialist in urology surgery, please call the Center for Pediatric Urology at 1-800-992-6983.
  • If you are a health professional looking for a consultation or referral information, please call Children's Physician Access at 1-866-755-2121 (toll-free).

Return to Children's pediatric urology surgery home page.