UTI is as common in children as it is in adults and usually as frequent. When you spot a UTI, treat the child as soon as possible to prevent reinfection and also avoid damage to the organs of the urinary tract. If the child is under 6 months old, it is better to see a pediatric urologist right away. As with adults, UTI among female children is more common than UTI among male children. However, uncircumcised male children are also susceptible to UTI on a regular basis.
- A congenital condition that causes the urine to flow back from the bladder into the ureters is the reason infants contact UTI.
- Among female population, tight fitting clothes, synthetic underwear, wiping up (from anus to the urethra) rather than down (from urethra to the anus) are some reasons for recurrent UTI in children.
- Some children refuse to urinate in the school restrooms and unfamiliar locations. Repeatedly holding urine in the bladder for lengthy durations also causes recurrent UTI in children.
- Any other illness that reduces the immunity in children and any injury to the brain or nervous system.
- Intestinal bacteria finding their way to the urethra and subsequent infection of bladder, ureters and kidneys.
Symptoms of UTI in children
- In children, UTI is accompanied by high fever (over 101 degrees Fahrenheit).
- Lack of appetite, nausea and sometimes vomiting.
- Blood in urine called hematuria.
- Foul smelling urine.
- Increased frequency and constant urge.
- Incontinence or bed-wetting.
- Pain and or burning during urination.
- Cloudy urine.
- Pain in the lower back.
- Chills, high fever, shaking.
- Flushed skin.
- Severe pain in the lower back and belly areas.
- Nausea and vomiting.
How to prevent recurrent UTI in children
Recurrent UTI prevention requires that the parent understand that the child is susceptible to UTI in the first place. Following measures will prevent recurrent UTI in children.
- Use loose fitting and cotton underwear. This is true for both boys and girls.
- In male children, it is better to get them circumcised at the appropriate time to prevent recurrent UTI.
- Encourage your child to drink more fluids like fruit juice and water.
- Discourage consumption of soda for it might lead to dehydration.
- Speak to your child and make him/her understand hygienic practices while using restrooms at school and public spaces. Explain to them the importance of keeping the genitals and surrounding area clean.
- Avoid scented soaps and bubble baths. While it is not proven that bubble baths cause UTI among girls, it is always better to use less chemically treated soap around the urinary and genital areas.
- Follow a healthy diet plan to prevent intestinal disorders, E. coli, constipation and other digestive tract disorders that help fester harmful bacteria around the anus.
- While there is no research that ratifies the effects of cranberries in curing and prevention of UTI either among children or adults, the acidic properties of cranberries help keep the blood on a slightly acidic level, which in turn helps maintain the acidic levels of the urinary tract.
- For an infant, if possible, exclusively breast-feed the baby. When an infant feeds directly at the mother’s breast, it transmits pathogens into the mother. The mother’s body creates antibodies for the said pathogens and some of them go back to the child when it feeds. This will help prevent several infections in the infant along with UTI.
- Recurrent UTI prevention also entails that you explain to your child the importance of hygiene and teach them healthy practices to follow while eating out and using the public restrooms.
Recurrent UTI in children guidelines
- If a child has already had a UTI in the past, the parent must inform the GP of the fact.
- If you see any symptoms of UTI, however insignificant, inform the GP and seek appointment with a pediatrician.
- The doctor might prescribe low dose antibiotics to be taken over a long period of time if the child presents with conditions such as flow of urine in the incorrect direction.
- Several evaluations and diagnosis techniques are available and if your child presents with recurrent UTI, the GP or the pediatrician may recommend a course of tests.
In the case of recurrent UTI, pediatric urologists will perform several exams and prescribe tests and procedures to verify the cause and extent of the infection. Such measures are necessary to find out why the child gets infected frequently and what measures must be taken to avoid further damage. There are also several myths surrounding recurrent UTI in children. A parent must be able to understand the source of such myths and verify if they align with scientific facts. He / she should also be able to spot trouble well in advance and take measures to mitigate the situation and prevent future infections.