How Can I Prevent My Child From Getting A Urinary Tract Infection
- Teach your child to use the toilet when they feels the urge and not to hold it. Urine that is held in the bladder can help bacteria grow. This is also important for bowel movements.
- Children with constipation are more prone to UTIs. If your child has hard stools or painful bowel movements, try to increase the fibre in their diet. If this does not work, speak to your doctor.
- Avoid bubble baths and washing with strong soaps that can cause irritation.
What Else Can Cause Or Lead To Utis In Babies And Toddlers
There are a number of other causes or practices that can lead to UTIs:
- Not emptying the bladder completely
- Waiting too long to urinate
- Underpants not made of cotton
- Bubble baths and other soaps and detergents that can irritate the genitals and urethra
- Foods or beverages that cause bladder irritation, including chocolate, some spices, and caffeinated drinks
- Urinary blockages
- A condition called vesicoureteral reflux , in which urine from the bladder backs up into the kidneys
- Family history of UTIs
Can Utis Be Prevented
These tips can help prevent UTIs:
- School-age girls should avoid bubble baths and strong soaps that might cause irritation. They also should wear cotton underwear instead of nylon because it’s less likely to encourage bacterial growth.
- All kids should be taught not to “hold it” when they have to go. Pee that stays in the bladder gives bacteria a good place to grow.
- Kids should drink plenty of fluids but avoid those with caffeine.
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Suggestions That May Help Some Children
Parents often want to know what they can do to prevent UTIs. Not all UTIs can be prevented, but here are some suggestions that may help some children:
- treat any constipation
- encourage your child to go to the toilet regularly when they feel the need
- encourage your child to sit properly on the toilet with their feet on a stool so that they empty their bladder completely
- make sure your child drinks plenty of water with meals, and during hot weather
- teach girls to wipe their bottoms from front to back rather than back to front
There is a suggestion in studies of UTI in boys that circumcision might slightly reduce the incidence of UTI. But the benefit is small. Most specialists would not recommend circumcision for this reason unless there are repeated UTIs which are causing major health problems.
How Do I Know If My Baby Has A Uti
It can be hard to know if your baby has a UTI because many infants don’t show obvious symptoms.
For many babies, an unexplained fever is the only obvious symptom. About 5 percent of babies who have a fever have a UTI. The lack of other noticeable signs is why so many UTIs in infants go undetected, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics .
In some cases, a baby may show other symptoms, with or without a fever:
- Crying or another indication that urination is painful
- Foul-smelling urine
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Recurrent Utis In Kids: What Every Parent Should Know
Another trip to the pediatrician? Another diagnosis of a urinary tract infection ? It seems like every time you turn around, your child has a UTI. If they keep getting recurrent UTIs, it can be frustrating and scary as a parent.
UTIs happen when bacteria from a childs skin or stool get into the urinary tract and multiply. UTIs are also very common. About 8% of girls and 2% of boys will develop a UTI by the time they are 10 years old.
It happens more commonly in girls than boys because the urethra in girls is much shorter, said Brenda Kronborg, DO, a pediatrician with Banner Children’s – Banner Health Clinic. Thus, the bacteria have a shorter distance to go and start the infection.
While UTIs are common among babies and children, recurrent UTIs can have serious complications such as scarring on the kidneys. Its important to know how to spot the warning signs and get help for your child when they need it.
Dr. Kronborg helps break down the signs and symptoms, treatment options and the ways you can help prevent future UTIs.
What If The Uti Is Caused By A More Serious Problem
If your baby has a blockage in her urinary tract, she may need surgery to correct it.
In some cases, surgery is also needed to correct VUR , although many children outgrow the condition completely by age 6. In the meantime, your doctor may prescribe your child long-term, low-dose antibiotics to prevent recurring UTIs and to head off kidney damage.
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When Should I Call The Doctor
- is under 6 months old and has a fever,
- is older than 6 months and has had a fever for more than 48 hours,
- is in pain when urinating, or has foul-smelling urine,
- has suddenly started having accidents during the day or at night time after many months of being dry,
- has blood in the urine, and/or
- has severe stomach or back pain.
How Can I Help Prevent Recurrent Utis
You can help your child reduce their risk of developing another UTI. Dr. Kronborg shares these suggestions to help prevent infections down the road.
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What Is The Treatment For A Uti
Antibiotics are the main treatment for UTIs. Treatment is usually for 3 to 7 days. This depends on several factors, including how unwell your child is and whether they have underlying kidney problems.
Encouraging your child to drink more fluid may help. You can give pain relief if your child is in discomfort. You must follow the dosage instructions on the bottle. It is dangerous to give more than the recommended dose.
The following babies and children with a UTI usually need to go to hospital for intravenous antibiotics :
- young babies under 3 months of age
- children who are very unwell
Your child’s symptoms should start to improve after 48 hours of antibiotic treatment.
What Are The Symptoms
Babies and young children may not have the most common symptoms, such as pain or burning when they urinate. Also, they can’t tell you what they feel. In a baby or a young child, look for:
- A fever not caused by the flu or another known illness.
- Urine that has a strange smell.
Older children are more likely to have common symptoms, such as:
- Pain or burning when they urinate.
- Needing to urinate often.
- Loss of bladder control.
- Red, pink, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine.
- Pain in the flank, which is felt just below the rib cage and above the waist on one or both sides of the back.
- Lower belly pain.
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Collecting A Urine Sample
Collecting a urine sample from a child can sometimes be difficult, especially in babies and young children.
If you’re not sure what to do or need some help collecting the urine sample, ask a doctor or nurse for advice.
In young children who are toilet trained, you’ll usually be asked to collect a urine sample using a sterile bottle provided by your GP surgery.
Collect a sample by holding the bottle in the stream of urine while your child is urinating. Make sure nothing touches the open rim of the bottle, as this could affect the result.
If you’re unable to collect a clean sample, it may be collected using a special absorbent pad that you put in your baby’s nappy. A urine sample is then sucked out of the pad using a syringe.
If a urine sample is very difficult to collect at home or in a GP surgery, you may need to go to a hospital.
In such cases, a urine sample can be obtained by inserting a small plastic tube called a catheter into your child’s urethra.
How Do You Treat A Uti In Babies Or Toddlers
Your doctor will probably prescribe antibiotics in either liquid or chewable form. You’ll get instructions to give your child between one and four doses a day for up to two weeks, depending on the drug.
Even if your child starts to seem better in a few days, continue giving the medication until it’s gone. If you don’t, the bacteria causing the UTI might not be completely wiped out and the infection could come back stronger, making your child even sicker.
If your child is very ill and unable to eat or drink, he’ll need to spend a few days in the hospital so he can receive medicine intravenously. Babies younger than 2 months old with UTIs may also need to be hospitalized for treatment.
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What Causes A Urinary Tract Infection In Toddlers
Normal urine is sterile and contains fluids, salts and waste products. An infection occurs when microorganisms cling to the opening of the urethra and begin to multiply. Most infections arise from Escherichia coli bacteria that normally live in the digestive tract.
Different bacteria can cause a urinary tract infection. The seven most common bacteria include the following:
- Escherichia coli , found in about 85% of UTIs in children.
- Pain in the back or side .
Diagnosing Urinary Tract Infections In Children
Urinary tract infections in children can usually be diagnosed by your GP. They’ll carry out a physical examination, ask about your child’s symptoms, and request a urine sample.
You may be asked to collect the urine sample yourself, or a doctor or nurse at your GP surgery may help you.
These tests help your GP identify what’s causing the infection and determine whether it’s in the lower or upper part of the urinary tract.
If your child is less than three months old, your GP may refer you straight to hospital to see a specialist in caring for children without asking for a urine sample.
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How Is A Uti Treated In A Child
Treatment will depend on your childs symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is. Treatment may include:
- Antibiotic medicine
- A heating pad or medicines to relieve pain
- Drinking plenty of water
Your child’s healthcare provider may want to see your child back again a few days after treatment starts to see how treatment is working.
Talk with your childs healthcare providers about the risks, benefits, and possible side effects of all treatments.
How Can You Prevent Utis In The Future
Change your baby’s diapers often to prevent bacteria from growing. As your child gets older, teach them good bathroom habits to prevent UTIs. Instruct girls to wipe from front to back. This helps to prevent bacteria in poop from getting into the and urinary tract. Encourage your kids to go to the bathroom as soon as they feel the urge — not to hold it in.
Girls should avoid bubble baths and should not use perfumed soaps. And, they should wear cotton underwear — not nylon — to improve airflow and prevent bacteria from growing.
Have your kids drink lots of water, which helps flush bacteria out of the urinary tract. Extra water also prevents constipation, which can create blockages in the urinary tract that allow bacteria to grow.
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Types Of Utis In Children
Common types of UTIs include:
- Cystitis: this bladder infection is the most common type of UTI. Cystitis occurs when bacteria move up the urethra and into the bladder
- Urethritis: when bacteria infect the urethra
- Pyelonephritis: a kidney infection caused by infected urine flowing backward from the bladder into the kidneys or an infection in the bloodstream reaching the kidneys
How Serious Are The Infections In Children
Urinary infections in children usually go away quickly if they get medical care right away. But if your child keeps getting infections, your doctor may suggest tests to rule out more serious problems.
Urinary infections can lead to a serious infection throughout the body called . Problems from a urinary infection are more likely to happen in babies born too soon, in newborns, and in infants who have something blocking the flow of urine.
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How Are Utis Diagnosed
To diagnose a UTI, health care providers ask questions about what’s going on, do an exam, and take a sample of pee for testing.
How a sample is taken depends on a child’s age. Older kids might simply need to pee into a sterile cup. For younger children in diapers, a catheter is usually preferred. This is when a thin tube is inserted into the urethra up to the bladder to get a “clean” urine sample.
The sample may be used for a urinalysis or a urine culture . Knowing what bacteria are causing the infection can help your doctor choose the best treatment.
How Is A Uti In Children Treated
A UTI in children is commonly treated using antibiotics. The doctor will send your child’s urine sample to the lab, but analysis may take a couple of days. In the meantime, he or she will prescribe your child an antibiotic that treats the most common bacteria that cause UTIs. If your child’s urine culture identifies bacteria that may be causing symptoms, but is not treated by that antibiotic, the doctor may prescribe a new antibiotic.
Be sure to give your child the antibiotic in the prescribed dosage at the prescribed times each day. Your child must finish the full antibiotic course to ensure the infection doesn’t return. You should also encourage your child to drink plenty of water.
With proper treatment of a UTI in children, they should feel better in two to three days. Your doctor may need to perform further tests if your child has repeated infections. It is important to treat your child’s UTI promptly because untreated infections can cause kidney damage or, in rare cases, a bacterial infection of the bloodstream known as .
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What Are Some Good Bathroom Habits That My Child Should Follow
Teach your daughter to wipe herself from front to back after she goes to the bathroom.
Teach your daughter to lower her pants and underpants to her ankles and to sit comfortably on the toilet. If her feet don’t touch the floor, put a step stool in front of the toilet, so she can put her feet on it and be comfortable.
Teach your child to urinate regularly. Tell your child to not hold in urine for a long time. Going to the bathroom frequently can help prevent UTIs. Children who have had repeat UTIs should urinate every 1Â½ to 2 hours during the day. Drinking lots of fluids will help your child urinate more often.
Treat constipation. Constipation can give your child a sudden need to urinate.
Teach your child to empty the bladder all the way when he or she urinates. No âquickieâ bathroom visits during a TV commercial!
Give your child antibiotics only when your doctor tells you to. Antibiotics can kill the good bacteria that normally live on the skin of the genital area. When the good, protective bacteria are gone, harmful bacteria can grow and cause a UTI.
Treatment Of Uti In Children
Your childs UTI will require prompt antibiotic treatment to prevent kidney damage. The type of bacteria causing your childs UTI and the severity of your childs infection will determine the type of antibiotic used and the length of treatment.
The most common antibiotics used for treatment of UTIs in children are:
If your child has a UTI thats diagnosed as a simple bladder infection, its likely that treatment will consist of oral antibiotics at home. However, more severe infections may require hospitalization and IV fluids or antibiotics.
Hospitalization may be necessary in cases where your child:
- is younger than 6 months old
- has a high fever that isnt improving
- likely has a kidney infection, especially if the child is very ill or young
- has a blood infection from the bacteria, as in sepsis
- is dehydrated, vomiting, or unable to take oral medications for any other reason
Pain medication to alleviate severe discomfort during urination also may be prescribed.
If your child is receiving antibiotic treatment at home, you can help ensure a positive outcome by taking certain steps.
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How Is A Uti Diagnosed In A Child
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. The provider will give your child a physical exam. Your child may also have tests, such as:
- Urine testing. This is also known as urinalysis. Your childs urine is sent to a lab to check for red blood cells, white blood cells, bacteria, protein, and signs of infection. The urine will also be sent for a culture and sensitivity. This is done to figure out what type of bacteria is causing the infection and what medicine is best to treat the infection.
- Kidney ultrasound. This is a painless imaging test. It uses sound waves and a computer to make images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. It can show internal organs as they function and can assess blood flow through vessels. A boy with a UTI or a girl younger than age 5 or 6 may need this test.
- Voiding cystourethrogram . This is a type of X-ray of the urinary tract. A thin, flexible tube is put in the tube that drains urine from the bladder to the outside of the body . The bladder is filled with a liquid dye. X-ray images are taken as the bladder fills and empties. The images will show if there is any reverse flow of urine into the ureters and kidneys.