Skin tags & kidney problems in newborns

Written by christine daniels
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Skin tags & kidney problems in newborns
Kidney. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of hobvias sudoneighm)

The birth of a child should be followed by an examination to detect any abnormalities. Skin tags and kidney problems are not uncommon in newborn babies. Skin tags are not harmful to infants and are a normal occurrence, but doctors will recommend an ultrasound to evaluate kidneys. Kidney problems in newborns are serious and should be taken care of as soon as possible.

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Identifying Skin Tags

Skin tags are soft, small skin growths, although some may be up to a half-inch long. They usually don't grow and may be located on the neck, armpits, body folds or other areas. Skin tags are usually skin coloured but are occasionally darker. They are generally benign and not painful. They can be unattractive and uncomfortable; if they are, you can easily get them removed by a good paediatric or plastic surgeon. If they do not cause irritation, removal is not necessary.

Kidney Problems

Kidney failure may be chronic or acute. Acute diseases develop fast and can be very serious. Acute diseases tend to have long-lasting consequences; it may only last for a short time and go away once it is treated. Chronic diseases tend to stay and get worse over time. Some infants are born without kidneys or with abnormal kidneys, in which case, rigorous treatment will be needed. When kidneys can no longer keep up with the work that is asked of them, it is called renal failure, which is when the kidneys slow down or stop filtering wastes properly from the body. This can cause build-ups of waste products and toxic substances in the blood stream.

Linking the Two

Skin tags are common in newborns that have kidney problems. Doctors are not completely sure as to why this is because it is not consistent. Some infants with skin tags are found to have kidney trouble but at the same time; many with them have no trouble at all. When skin tags are detected on a newborn, an ultrasound will be recommended just to be safe. Skin tags can be a good indication that there is a kidney problem. They commonly appear on a baby's ear. Ears and kidneys develop at the same time when the baby is in womb.

Treatments

Treatment for skin tags is optional. It consists of a paediatric or plastic surgeon simply removing it. Liquid nitrogen is a common treatment for skin growths. When it is applied, liquid nitrogen destroys the cell tissue quickly and efficiently. Electrosurgery, or electrolysis is another technique. This is always performed by a professional with the use of an electric needle. Cutting off the blood supply with the use of string or thread will cause the skin tag to fall off.

As for kidney problems, your doctor will check for other conditions or diseases that may cause kidney trouble, including a blockage in the urinary tract or long-term use of medicines that can damage the kidneys, such as some antibiotics or pain relievers. The main options are palliative and supportive care and intensive treatment with renal replacement therapy (RRT). You can talk with a neurologist (doctor specialising in kidney disorders) to discuss other treatments as well.

Significance

We need our kidneys in order to stay hydrated. Without them we would die. They are in control of the salt and water balance in our bodies. The kidney has to be able to excrete absolutely anything from the blood into the urine. If the kidneys cannot excrete something because there is no way to carry it into the urine, the substance becomes extremely toxic. Skin tags are occasionally an indication of an abnormal kidney or problem. Being sure a newborn's kidneys are functioning properly is key to assuring a long and healthy life.

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