Fanconi syndrome is a disorder – seen mostly in children – with a group of symptoms related to dysfunction of the kidneys, and may be either inherited or acquired. Common signs and symptoms include frequency of urine, frequent thirst, dehydration, bone deformities and impaired growth. Characteristic laboratory investigations for this condition include proteinurea, hypokalemia, hypophosphatemia and hyperchloremic metabolic acidosis. Cystinosis – the accumulation of cystine in renal tubule cells – is one of the most common causes of this condition.
The Ayurvedic treatment of Fanconi syndrome is aimed at normalizing kidney function, treating symptoms and preventing long term complications like stunted growth in children. Medicines like Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Gokshuradi-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Qadha, Gomutra-Haritaki and Chandraprabha-Vati are used to help normalize kidney function. Medicines like Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Saarivadi-Churna, Guduchyadi-Qadha, Arogya-Vardhini and Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu are used to improve the blood flow to the kidneys and help repair the existing damage. Herbal medicines which can be used in Fanconi syndrome include Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Nimba (Azadirachta indica), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Ikshumool (Saceharum officinarum), Apamarga (Achyranthus aspera) and Sahinjan (Moringa pterygosperma).
Medicines which act on the ‘Rakta’ and ‘Meda’ dhatus (tissues) of the body are useful in treating disorders of the kidneys and are hence used in the treatment of Fanconi syndrome. These medicines include Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Patha (Cissampelos pareira), Musta (Cyperus rotundus), Kutki (Picrorrhiza kurroa), Chirayta (Swertia chirata), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Rakta-Chandan (Pterocarpus santalinus) and Vishwa (Zinziber officinalis).
This condition may be associated with Wilson disease, glycogen storage diseases and another disease called tyrosinemia. Each of these conditions needs to be treated separately. It is important to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in patients affected with Fanconi syndrome. All such patients should be under the regular care and supervision of an Urologist. Dietary advice for affected children and genetic counseling for the parents is recommended.