Dietary Management of Renal Tubular Disorders in Children

Renal tubular disorders can damage different parts of the renal tubules—structures in the kidneys that allow the body to achieve the proper balance of minerals, nutrients such as vitamin D, and water. Depending on the part of the tubules that are affected, these disorders can cause a wide variety of health conditions, such as kidney stones, urination problems, muscle spasms, and delayed growth.

NYU Langone’s pediatric kidney specialists, or nephrologists, collaborate with registered dietitians, who provide nutritional counseling to prevent complications in infants and children with renal tubular disorders. Our registered dietitians can develop a dietary plan for your child to ensure he or she is getting the right amount of minerals and nutrients. Their advice depends on the type of disorder your child has. 

For instance, a child may need extra calories to obtain enough nutrients when a renal tubular disorder slows growth. A child with diabetes insipidus, a renal tubular disorder that causes excessive urination and thirst, should drink large quantities of water. 

Some children may need to reduce their intake of dairy products to prevent kidney stones. Those who have a renal tubular disorder that prevents the reabsorption of potassium may need to eat more foods containing this essential mineral, such as bananas, beans, potatoes, and dark leafy greens. 

Our nutritionists may also recommend vitamin D supplements to counteract bone loss and growth problems that may occur in children with renal tubular disorders.

Feeding Tube

Some infants with renal tubular disorders develop a syndrome known as failure to thrive. This occurs when a child does not absorb enough nutrients for proper growth and health. 

For babies who are at risk for failure to thrive, the doctor may recommend a temporary feeding tube, also called a gastrostomy tube or G-tube. This plastic device is inserted through an incision in your child’s abdomen using a thin plastic tube with a light at its tip called an endoscope. 

Inserting a feeding tube can be done quickly and painlessly using a local anesthetic to numb the skin. It can be performed as an outpatient procedure in the hospital. After your child begins to eat and drink enough to ensure healthy growth and development, the feeding tube may be removed.

Resources for Renal Tubular Disorders in Children
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