Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) in Children

Protecting your loved one from urinary track infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in young children. . Every child is different, and therefore UTIs symptoms vary depending on the child’s age. When UTIs goes untreated the result would be devastating on the child and stress or unrest on parent because the symptoms may not be obvious to the child or to parents that the illness is infection of the urinary track system.

What is some of generalized symptom of UTIs in children?

Symptoms of UTIs in children varies from child to child and depending on their ages. In babies, fever, fussiness, or tiredness may be the only signs of UTI while older children may have fever, burning irritation when passing urine, frequent urination, lower abdominal pain, or back pain. The other symptoms that children may present include the following:

  1. Fever and chills
  2. pain or burning on urethra during urination
  3. need to urinate more often with a lot of difficulty in getting urine out
  4. urgent need to urinate, or wetting of underwear or bedding by a child who knows how to use the toilet
  5. vomiting and  refusal to eat
  6. abdominal pain with side or back pain
  7. foul-smelling urine when freshly passed out
  8. cloudy, turbid or bloody urine
  9. unexplained and persistent irritability in an infant
  10. poor growth in an infant

What are major causes of UTIs in children?

1. Bladder & bowel problems

Many children hold urine too long and when they are peeing they don’t relax fully when to completely empty urine from bladder. Regular urination helps flush away bacteria that tries to colonize the bladder, urethra or ureters. Holding urine helps bacteria colonize this site and promotes there growth. A child who doesn’t drink enough fluid may not make enough urine to flush away bacteria. This often goes hand in hand with bowel dysfunction such as constipation. These problems increase the risk of UTIs infection in children.

2. Urinary tract abnormalities

Children may have correctable bladder or kidney problems that contribute to UTIs including partial blockages, dilated segments, kidney stones, or elevated bladder pressures. These problems can also increase the risk of UTIs infection in children. Your pediatrician may order an ultrasound of the kidneys and bladder to look for these issues. Depending on the ultrasound result, he or she may initiate correct treatment or further request other investigative test such as Urinalysis.

3. Urine reflux

Urine reflux is backflow of urine from the bladder to kidneys which can be a congenital (present at birth) condition in children that can contribute to kidney infections. Urine reflux, can lead to pyelonephritis (a urinary tract infection involving the kidney) which is infections of the kidney that can poses a threat to kidney health. Sometimes reflux improves, or resolves altogether, as children grow up, but it’s always advisable to see your pediatrician when such scenario happens.

4. Hygiene

The hygiene of your child is the most crucial thing that can cause UTIs infection. Children most of times fail to keep their genitals clean dry which promote growth and spread of infection. Every visit of washroom every child should ensure he or she has observe hygiene culture to prevent contact with infection. 

What diagnosis can you make at home for your child?

Symptoms alone are not enough to diagnose UTIs in children. Most children who develop these symptoms have a different cause for them, such as a virus. But majority of children UTIs infection, mostly come from bacterial infection especially from E.coli.It’s easier to carry out a laboratory test to diagnose your child UTIs infection at comfort of your home by using simple urinalysis test strips that help your determine different parameters of urine infection. The dipstick reagent can be obtain from your local pharmacy or from online stores such as amazon. Using this dipstick urinalysis analyzers UTIs infection are commonly detected by nitrate and leucocyte parameters which when detected its always advisable to contact your pediatricians.

Pediatricians furthers the diagnosis by checking for bacteria in the urine with a culture test. To be diagnosed with a UTI, a child must have symptoms plus bacteria in the urine and thus your pediatrician can initiate treatment.  

What measure can you take to prevent your child from contacting UTIs Infection?

UTIs are common in children, and there are many effective treatments available. Some simple things you can do to help prevent UTIs in your child include:

  • Ensure your child is drinking lots of fluids.
  • Encouraging your child to frequently urinate.
  • Preventing constipation by giving your child food with a lot of fibers.
  • Keeping the genital area of your child clean and dry.
  • Ensure your child is wearing cotton underwear and they are dry and clean.
  • Teach your child especially girls to wiping their genitals from front to back after a bowel movement or urination. 

Medical Laboratory Scientist

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