Urinary Tract Infection in Children

Children at a very tender age may suffer from many deadly diseases which may cause harm to their growth and development. One such disease is the problem of UTI in Children. Some infections in the urinary tract can hinder with the proper functioning of the urinary system. UTI is easy to treat. With early detection and the right treatment, the infection will disappear in a week’s time. If fail to detect it on time, and if not properly treated UTI can develop into a more severe kidney infection

Nowadays, UTI or urinary tract infection is becoming very common in growing children. What are the main reasons? And what are the precautions and cures?

Let’s just check them out in detail below.

What Is Urinary Tract?

Our urinary tract comprises mainly of 4 organs which work together to eliminate the waste from the blood in the form of urine.

  • Kidneys, which filter the waste from the blood.
  • Ureters, which carry away the urine (waste) from the kidney
  • Urinary bladder, which collects and store the urine
  • Urethra through which urine is eliminated from the body.

What Is UTI?

UTI is basically an infection caused by bacteria.  The bacteria can enter the urinary tract through the opening of the urethra. Although bacteria are thrown out from the urethra in form of urine, sometimes they are not discarded and are left over that causes infection in our urinary tract. Even though any part of the urinary tract can be affected, children more often get UTI in their bladder.  The main bacterium that leads to infection is called E. coli.

Note:  Girls are more prone to get UTI than boys. This is owing to the fact that their urethra is shorter and microbes from the anus, by this means, more easily can enter the vagina and urethra.

Types Of UTI In Children:

UTI is always differentiated on the basis of the organ affected by bacteria:

  1. Upper UTI:It happens when infection persists in kidneys or ureters. It mainly causes the infection called pyelonephritis.
  2. Lower UTI:It happens when the infection persists in the urethra or urinary bladder. It causes the harmful disease named cystitis. This UTI disease is more common in girls because of their anatomy.

Causes Of UTI In Children:

Children can contract UTI by different means

  • Unhygienic Practices: The main reason for UTI in children is unhygienic conditions. Sometimes, children may use toilet paper that may touch their genitals and also, come in contact with the urinary system and cause this infection to occur. Bacteria that cause UTI are mainly present in our digestive system and they may come in direct contact with the urinary system through the toilet paper.
  • Abnormalities And Health Conditions: Several health issues can contribute to UTI in children. Constipation and VUR (vesicoureteral reflux), a disorder in which the urine tends to flow backward from the bladder into the ureters and kidney are some of the health condition that trigger UTI in children. Also, there are several conditions that hinder the flow of urine. Any of these conditions can potentially trigger UTI in children. It is found that 50% of newborns and 20 to 30% of school going children with a UTI experience such abnormalities.

Major Risk Factors Leading To UTI:

There are many risk factors that contribute to UTI:

  • Unhygienic conditions are the main risk factor for UTI. Children using dirty toilets, not washing hands after toilet, can be risk factors for UTI.
  • Unhealthy toilet habits of children like holding urine for a long time while playing can lead to UTI
  • Children that have weak immune systems are more prone to UTI infection
  • Sometimes UTI runs in family.
  • Girls wearing tight-fitting clothes are more at risk of contracting UTI

Symptoms Of UTI In Children:

If your child constantly complains about experiencing a burning pain when he urinates, it is time to get him checked from a doctor as it is the classic symptom of UTI. However, sometimes it becomes very hard to detect UTI in some children as they show no signs other than fever. Some symptoms of UTI in children other than the burning sensation while passing the urine are:

  • Frequent urination
  • An urgent need to urinate with negligible urine production
  • Fever and vomiting
  • Urinary incontinence (not able to hold the urine for some time)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Severe back pain
  • Bad odor in urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Diarrhea

Diagnosis Of UTI In Children:

Most doctors will ask about the symptoms like pain and burning sensation in the urinary tract. Other than that, he may ask for a urine test by which the presence of the bacteria will be checked in the urine sample. If the bacteria is present in the urine, the doctor will ask for some more tests like cystoscopy, Urodynamics, and VCUG. If he finds out UTI from the above tests, he will immediately start the antibiotic therapy.

What Is Recurrent UTI In Children And How To Manage?

Recurring UTI infection is not so common. If your child is contracting UTI two or more times in a six-month span we can say he or she is having recurrent UTI. It happens due to anatomic or medical issues. Either way, if your child is prone to UTI, always keep a check of the symptoms and follow the preventive measures properly.

As already mentioned recurrent UTI in children indicates some underlying issues ( either anatomical or Medical or both). Therefore, in such cases, doctors perform any of the following image tests to find out the underlying cause.

  • Ultrasound Scan
  • Nuclear Scan
  • MRI Scan
  • CT Scan
  • Voiding cystourethrography (VCUG)

Treatment For UTI In Children:

Treatment of UTI mainly depends on the severity of infection and age of the child. With proper treatment, UTI in children will clear up within 5 to 7 days.

  • Oral Antibiotics: Doctors mainly prescribe an oral antibiotic course for UTI infection.
  • Intravenous Administration Of Antibiotics: If the conditions are serious or oral antibiotics do not give out the desired results, intravenous mode could be used by the doctor and the child has to get admitted to the hospital.
  • Injection: Antibiotic injections are administered (into muscle or vein), in case of UTI in newborns
  • Painkillers: Doctors may also prescribe medicines for relieving pain associated with UTI.
  • Surgery: If UTI is due to structural abnormalities of the urinary tract, a surgical procedure will require for correcting it.

Homeopathic Treatment For UTI:

If you are not satisfied with the treatment or the previous results are not appropriate, you can consult a homeopathic specialist. Their goal is a long-term treatment and full eradication of the UTI infection. While going for homeopathic treatment, you may also use some home remedies for pain relief and fast recovery.

Home Remedies For UTI Infection:

Some home remedies along with the antibiotic treatment can be very effective for early relief from this infection.

  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day helps in flushing out the bacteria.
  • Drinking Barley water is one of the best home remedies for your child’s UTI
  • Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice
  • Eat pineapple or unsweetened pineapple juice
  • Having more of garlic can be helpful. Garlic contains allicin that kills E. coli bacteria
  • Vitamin C intake is also essential as it makes the urine acidic that does not let E. coli to grow
  • Consumption of Oils like oregano oil and clove oil that have antibacterial properties also help in UTI infection.

How To Prevent UTI:

Obviously, Prevention is better than Cure, given below are some effective ways to prevent UTI in Children:

  • Make your children drink plenty of water as it will wash out the bacteria.
  • Take care of proper hygiene especially in the girl child as they are most prone to this infection.
  • Encourage children to urinate and never hold it especially while playing.
  • You should add curd to your child’s diet as being a probiotic, it prevents from bacteria growth in the digestive tract.
  • Avoid bubble bath.

What Are The Complication Of UTI Infection In Children?

UTI cause no complications if proper treatment is taken in time. However, if a child is not treated at the right time, it could lead to a deadly complication like blood poisoning, kidney failure, multiple organ failure, and many more hazardous complications.

Is UTI In Children Contagious?

No, UTI in children is not contagious. Your child will never contract it by touching or using the same toilet seats. So don’t worry about it spreads.

How Long UTI In Children Lasts?

Depending on the treatment and the child’s condition, the child may get relief in two or three days. Little care and proper hygiene will help your child to recover fast. Use home remedies along with treatment as it will become more effective in the treatment.

UTI in Children is quite common and now that you know all the right measures, you can easily take care of your child and control the infection from spreading further in the body.