Bacteria infecting any part of one’s urinary tract causes a urinary tract infection (UTI). Children experiencing UTI are common and treatable. But to avoid complications, contact your child’s doctor as soon as you notice symptoms.
Read on to learn everything you must know about UTI in children.
Signs of UTI in Children
The most common types of UTI in children are urethra and bladder infections, but these infections can also affect the ureters and kidneys. If your child probably has a UTI, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Getting up in the middle of the night to urinate
- Hurting belly button
- Pain or a burning sensation when peeing
- Urinating regularly
- Urine that smells bad, is cloudy, or has a blood tinge to it
- Vomiting, nausea, or loss of appetite
- Wetting the bed
Diagnosis of UTI in Children
It’s critical to understand that UTI symptoms are similar to other conditions and infections. When they appear, always contact your child’s primary care physician. They will inquire about your child’s symptoms to determine whether or not they require an examination.
A doctor may request a urine sample to confirm a UTI and identify the type of bacteria causing it. At the doctor’s office, older children will be asked to urinate in a cup. Meanwhile, a doctor may need to do the following to diagnose a baby or young child:
- Collect urine by wrapping a bag around the child’s genitals and placing it inside a diaper until they urinate. Urine contamination by normal skin bacteria is a risk with this method.
- Insert a catheter through their urethra and into the bladder to collect urine.
Treatment of UTI in Children
Antibiotics are commonly used to treat UTIs in children. The doctor will send your child’s urine sample to the lab for analysis, which could take a few days. Meanwhile, they will prescribe an antibiotic to treat the most common bacteria that cause UTIs.
If a urine culture identifies bacteria that may be causing symptoms but is not treated by the antibiotic, the doctor may prescribe a different antibiotic.
Ensure that your child receives the antibiotic in the prescribed dosage and specified times each day. To guarantee that reinfection does not occur, your child must complete the entire course of antibiotics. In addition, you should encourage your child to drink plenty of water.
Children should feel better in two to three days if they receive proper treatment for a UTI. If your child experiences recurring infections, your doctor may need to run additional tests. It is critical to treat your child’s UTI as soon as possible because untreated infections can cause kidney damage or, in rare cases, sepsis, a bacterial infection of the bloodstream.
Causes of UTI in Children
Bacteria, particularly the intestinal bacteria E. coli, can enter the urinary tract through the skin around the anus. Since a female’s urethra is shorter and closer to the anus, it’s more common for them to get UTI, especially during potty training. Uncircumcised baby boys are also at a slightly higher risk. Some UTI risk factors are unavoidable, such as:
- A urinary tract’s structural or functional abnormality (like a blockage)
- Vesicoureteral reflux, an abnormal backward flow of urine from the bladder up the ureters and toward the kidneys that is very common in children with UTIs
Additional tests, such as ultrasound or bladder x-rays, may be recommended in some cases to look for these conditions and determine the most effective treatment.
To prevent UTI in your child, follow our tips below:
- Because tight clothing can trap moisture, dress your child in loose-fitting clothing.
- Encourage your child to use the restroom rather than hold it when they need to go.
- Ensure your child gets enough fluids, preferably water, throughout the day. Inquire with your doctor about how many ounces your child requires. Babies get what they need from their mothers’ breastmilk or formula.
- Purchase cotton underwear for your potty-trained child to allow the area to dry properly.
- Teach your child the correct way to wipe after using the restroom, front to back.
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