Nephritis in Children: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

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Nephritis among children is known as glomerulonephritis. According to Welsh (2012) it is a very common condition among children. In most of the cases this disease can be cured with a primary care setting. The diagnosis of this ailment is done by taking urine samples. The presence of red blood cells in the urine confirms the infection.

The kidney of your child gets inflated. This makes it difficult for the kidney to pump the blood. The traces of blood get passed through the urine. This causes real discomfort to the children.

Symptoms of Nephritis in Children:

There are many ways by which you can detect nephritis in your children. There are many symptoms which are common for all children suffering from nephritis:

  • Urine will be dark brown in color. It will contain traces of blood and protein. The kidney failure will allow the blood to stay in the urine.
  • The excess protein in the urine will make it appear bubbly and foamy.
  • Urine frequency will be less. Urine quantity also will also be very less.
  • Your child might also experience extreme abdominal pain. Severe pain in the abdomen is an obvious sign that something is wrong with your child’s kidneys.
  • Your child might also experience sore throat.
  • There will be always a lack of energy. Your child will be fatigued all the time.
  • He/she might also experience breathing problems.
  • Your child might also experience severe headaches.
  • The blood pressure will always remain on the higher side.
  • Your child might also experience seizures from blood pressure
  • Some kids have rashes all over the buttocks and leg areas.
  • Your child might lose appetite. This will cause the loss of weight.
  • Some children also experience tremendous joint pains.
  • Sometimes fluid might build up inside the tissues.
  • Your child’s skin color might also become paler.
  • There can be swelling in your child’s ankle and face
  • Your child might also experience frequent nightmare urination. This is not a good sign, irrespective of the age of your child.
  • In some reported cases, nephritis also causes nose bleed for your child. (Welsh, 2012)
  • Your child might also experience serious muscle cramps, especially at night.
  • There will be serious lack of appetite. It is also accompanied by nausea and vomiting tendency. Basically your child might be completely repulsed by the entire idea of having food.
  • Finally, there can be some instances where your child will show signs of itchy and dry skin.

Nephritis in children

If you observe these symptoms in your child then do take him/her to the doctor and get it properly diagnosed. Any disruption of the urine or any abnormality noted should be immediately reported to the doctor. Research shows that early intervention and proper care can actually treat nephritis in children much quicker. (Said & Layani, 1999).

What are the causes of Nephritis among Children?

Nephritis is always caused by any other pre-existing disease in your child. These are the following diseases which trigger nephritis for your child:

Autoimmune Disease:

Research conducted by Davin & Coppo (2014) stresses on the fact that this disease is directly responsible for nephritis in kids. This is due to the fact that this disease directly attacks the healthy blood cells of your child. This makes it difficult for the kidney to filter out the blood.

Polyarteritis nodosa:

This inflammatory disease of the arteries often takes its toll on the blood of your child. If the blood starts behaving badly then his/her tiny kidneys get affected. Then eventually deadly diseases like nephritis pop-up.

Wegener vasculitis:

This deadly disease spreads throughout your child’s organs. Many times it affects the kidney of a child thereby causing nephritis.

Henoch-Schönlein purpura:

This disease is known to cause large or small purple colored lesions on the skin of the child. This affects the skin as well as the internal organs. Unfortunately this disease also affects the kidney of children. This eventually can lead to nephritis.

Alport syndrome:

Children often get affected by this inherited nephritis. This harms both boys and girls. But research shows that it is the male children who are more likely to get affected by this disease. (Brunner & Bennett, 2016). The boys suffer more from the kidney related problems. The symptoms of this disease, in many ways, are similar to child nephritis. The blood pressure is on the higher side. The kidney is the organ which is more affected.

Streptococcal infection:

In case of children, nephritis is often caused due to the throat infection and also sometimes due to pertinent problems in the respiratory system. This is also quite common among kids. That is why sore throats are a major symptom indicating the chances of having nephritis.

These are the ailments which triggers nephritis in children. Apart from that any other blood related disease also can result in nephritis. High blood pressure amongst certain kids leaves traces of blood on kidney. This is something which creates problems in urination. As a parent you must do well to detect the early signs of nephritis. As otherwise it might cause serious damage to your child’s kidney in the long run.

Diagnosis of Nephritis in Children:

Early detection is always better when it comes to ailments pertaining to delicate organs. Organ damages can be a lifelong curse upon your child. That is why it is important that you report the symptoms to your doctor on an immediate basis.

These are typically the diagnosis that the doctors undergo whilst treating nephritis in children:

Throat Culture:

Many times the root cause of nephritis among children is throat or respiratory infection. For that reason your child’s pediatrician might conduct a throat culture. It is a routine swab test conducted by taking saliva samples from your child’s throat. The doctors will try and detect the traces of bacteria in them.

Blood Test:

A routine blood test is also necessary. It helps the doctor to keep track of the total blood counts. Also it helps the doctor to check the level of electrolyte in the blood. A routine kidney function blood test is also conducted at times.

Urine Test:

Just like the blood test, a routine urine test is also conducted. This is to find the traces of blood in urine. Normally blood cells present in the urine are microscopic by nature. So, it is not visible to the naked eye.

Electrocardiogram (ECG):

As mentioned before that sometimes faulty heart conditions lead to nephritis in children. That is why if necessary the doctor will conduct this test. It will reveal whether or not any artery of your child is blocked.

Chest X-Ray:

Sometimes doctor also conduct a chest x-ray to ensure that the lungs and the respiratory system is not affected. Your child’s respiratory problems can also trigger serious problems in the renal region.

Renal ultrasound (sonography):

Inflammation of the kidney is a very obvious indication of nephritis in children. If the situation is serious then the doctor might undergo a full renal ultrasound. It is a painless procedure which will replicate the images of your child’s renal tissues on a computer screen. The doctors will then assess whether or not the tissues are inflated or are there traces of blood clotted in the renal veins. Both of these conditions pretty much indicate towards a serious case of nephritis.

Renal Biopsy:

If it is a case of chronic nephritis, a renal biopsy also becomes necessary. In such cases the medical practitioner might want to examine a small sample of the renal tissues. However, early intervention avoids situations wherein a renal biopsy becomes necessary.

These are the set of standards tests and diagnosis that a doctor performs. Sometimes the symptoms are suggestive enough to let the doctors know about the criticality of the condition.

Treatments of Nephritis in Children:

Since in many cases nephritis is caused by some other disease in children, the treatment of the underlying ailment is enough for treating nephritis. However, in many conditions doctors prescribe certain medications.

Depending on the root cause the nature and kind of medication also alters. Sometimes high blood pressure causes nephritis among children. In such cases the doctors might prescribe him/her with pills to control the blood pressure.

Then there are these routine anti-inflammatory medicines which are also given at times. If the body is restoring a lot of fluid then a diuretics is prescribed by the doctor. Apart from that medications also include antibiotics to combat any chances of secondary infections.

Also at times in order to protect the kidneys from the mineral phosphorus of the blood certain kinds of phosphate binders are also given to the child. If the condition threatens the child’s immunity then in that case immunosuppressive medicines are also suggested.

In some cases if the situation is beyond the control of medicines certain other treatment procedures become necessary.

Peritoneal dialysis

In cases of serious ailment this kind of dialysis is conducted. In such cases a cavity is created in the abdominal area in order to filter out the blood. The surgeon puts a flexible tube in the child’s belly. Then a sterile fluid is passed through the catheter into the child’s peritoneal cavity. This flushes out all the impurities which had been accumulated on your child’s kidneys.

Hemodialysis

This is yet another treatment procedure of pediatric nephritis. In such cases an arteriovenous (AV) fistula is placed in your child’s arm, with the help of a small surgery. Then your child will be connected to a hemodialysis machine.

This machine is used in order to filter out the impurities from the blood of the child. It flushes out the extra fluid and all the wastes. Then the purified blood is again pumped in your child’s body.

But in many cases surgical interventions are not needed. According to Welsh (2012) home based cares also treat nephritis pretty well for kids. However, early detection of the disease is necessary in such cases.

Home Remedies of Pediatric Nephritis:

There are plenty of home remedies options which can help your child recover from nephritis.

  • Carrot juice works pretty well in restoring the health of the kidney. Make your child drink a glass. Add a hint of honey as a taste enhancer.
  • Bananas are also good as they are a low protein diet. Also since they are high in carbohydrates they help in the cure of nephritis.
  • Avocado is also a very good food alternative for treating nephritis. Like bananas they are also low in protein and can actually prove to be the ideal food during your child’s ailment.
  • Grapes are low in sodium content and that is why they are good for your child whilst he/she is suffering from kidney related problems.
  • Coconut water is a natural diuretic. It helps your child to flush away all the impure substances from the kidney. It makes sure that no additional fluid is stored anywhere inside your child’s body.
  • Fruit juice is suggested by many researchers. According to Luckritz & Eddy (2016) a complete fruit juice diet, for 9-10 days will help your child’s body flush out all the impurities. It will offer his/her kidneys some respite and it can also ensure complete cure.
  • Luckritz & Eddy (2016) also state that wild yam root juices are very effective home remedies for nephritis or any kind of kidney related diseases of your child. However, make sure that your child is not allergic to yam or yam roots before offering it to him/her.
  • Tincture of nettle seeds is also pretty good for your child’s kidneys. They prove to be very effective home remedy for pediatric nephritis.
  • Astragalus root when mixed with cooked rehmannia  is also known to have pretty good effect on overall health of your child’s kidneys.
  • Offering your child with Salvia root is also a good idea when he/she is suffering from kidney related problems. This root is also known to cure respiratory problems along with other symptoms of nephritis in children. Feeding him/her with this root will make sure that your child will not suffer from shortness of breath or nausea.

Conclusion:

Nephritis is always an associated disease. That is why it is important for you to detect the root cause of the problem. Any abnormality with the urine associated with any kind of discomfiture in the abdominal area should be reported immediately to the doctor.

Less urination is also not a good sign. However, once you have successfully detected the problem you should consult with your doctor the various possibilities of the home based remedies. Follow the remedies only suggested by your doctor and conduct the tests as prescribed.

Reference:

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s004670050559

https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijpedi/2012/426192/

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