What Increases Your Risk
Risk factors of urinary tract infection include:
- Abnormalities of the urinary tract, including kidney stones and other urinary obstructions. Structural or functional problems that limit the kidneys’ or the bladder’s ability to eliminate urine properly can increase the risk of UTIs. These problems may be present at birth or may develop soon after.
- Infrequent urination, incomplete emptying of the bladder, or constipation. These patterns are common during toilet training and make it easier for bacteria to build up in the urine.
- An uncircumcised penis. The foreskin can trap bacteria, which can then enter the urinary tract and cause infection.
- Catheterization, which is used in a hospital when a child is unable to urinate on his or her own. Bacteria can enter the catheter and start an infection.
- Previous UTIs. The risk for future infections increases with each additional infection.
- History of UTI or the backward flow of urine from the bladder into the kidneys in a parent or sibling.
Infants and young children who have UTIs often have vesicoureteral reflux .
Signs Your Child Has A Uti
Urethra infection and bladder infection are the most common forms of UTI in children, but these infections can also affect the ureters and kidneys. If your child has a UTI, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Foul-smelling, cloudy or blood-tinged urine
- Frequent urination, although very little urine may be produced
- Nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
- Pain below your child’s belly button
- Pain or burning sensation when your child urinates
- Waking at night to urinate
How Is A Urine Infection Confirmed
A sample of urine is needed to confirm the diagnosis. Urine normally has no germs present, or only very few. A urine infection can be confirmed by urine tests which detect bacteria and/or the effects of infection in the urine.
Ideally, the sample of urine should not come into contact with skin or other materials which may contaminate it with other bacteria. Adults and older children can do this by a midstream collection of urine. This is not easy to do in young children and babies. The following are ways to obtain a sample of urine that is not contaminated:
- Young children – the usual way is to catch some urine in the specimen bottle whilst they are passing urine. Just be ready with the open bottle as the child passes urine.
- Babies – one method is to place a specially designed absorbent pad in a nappy . Urine is sucked into a syringe from the wet pad. Another method is to use a plastic bag that sticks on to the skin and collects urine. If no pad or plastic bag is available, the following might work. Take the nappy off about one hour after a feed. Gentle wiping of the skin over the pubic area, using gauze soaked in cold water, helps trigger peeing.
If you collect a sample at home, take it to the doctor or clinic as soon as possible after collection. If there is a delay, store the urine sample in the fridge.
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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 Can I Prevent My Child From Getting A Kidney Infection
- Change your baby’s diaper frequently. Bacteria from bowel movements can enter your baby’s urinary tract.
- Have your child empty his or her bladder often. Make sure your child urinates and empties his or her bladder as soon as needed. Teach your child not to hold urine for long periods of time.
- Encourage your child to drink more liquids. Ask how much liquid your child should drink each day and which liquids are best. Your child may need to drink more liquids than usual to help flush out the bacteria. Do not let your child drink caffeine or citrus juices. These can irritate your child’s bladder and increase symptoms. Ask your child’s healthcare provider about giving your child cranberry juice. Cranberry juice can interfere with some medicines.
- Teach your child to wipe from front to back. Your child should wipe from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement. This will help prevent germs from getting into the urinary tract through the urethra.
- Treat your child’s constipation. This may lower his or her UTI risk. Ask your child’s healthcare provider how to treat your child’s constipation.
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Key Points About A Uti In Children
- A urinary tract infection is inflammation of part of the system that takes urine out of the body.
- Most infections are caused by bacteria from the digestive tract. The most common is Escherichia coli bacteria. These normally live in the colon.
- A UTI is not common in children younger than age 5. A UTI is much more common in girls because they have a shorter urethra.
- A UTI is unlikely in boys of any age, unless part of the urinary tract is blocked. Uncircumcised boys are more at risk for a UTI than circumcised boys.
- Symptoms vary by age, and can include fever, need to urinate often, pain, and crying.
How Are Utis Treated
UTIs are treated with antibiotics. After several days of antibiotics, your doctor may repeat the urine tests to be sure that the infection is gone. It’s important to make sure of this because an incompletely treated UTI can come back or spread.
If a child has severe pain when peeing, the doctor may also prescribe medicine that numbs the lining of the urinary tract.
Give prescribed antibiotics on schedule for as many days as your doctor directs. Keep track of your child’s trips to the bathroom, and ask your child about symptoms like pain or burning during peeing. These symptoms should improve within 2 to 3 days after antibiotics are started.
Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids, but skip drinks that containe caffeine , such as soda and iced tea.
Most UTIs are cured within a week with treatment.
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Interpreting Urine Sample Results
You may have had some experience before with taking in a urine sample for testing. Here is an explanation of how the test works.There are three types of urine tests:
- Urinalysis this can be done in the doctors office or a lab. A dipstick is placed in the urine sample and up to ten different substances can be detected. There are three substances that show up positive during a bladder infection:
- Nitrite this is a substance produced by bacteria.
- Leukocyte esterase this is a substance produce by white blood cells when they attack bacteria.
- Blood this will sometimes show up during a bladder infection.
This test just takes a few minutes. Depending on how strongly these substances show up, this test can be interpreted three ways:
- Bladder infection unlikely if the U/A is normal, an infection is unlikely. However, occasionally this test can be completely normal during an infection.
- Bladder infection possible if one or two substances show up weak, an infection may be present.
- Bladder infection probable if two or three substances show up strong, your child probably has a bladder infection.
- Sometimes these substances can show up even when an infection is not present.
If no white blood cells or bacteria are seen, then there could still be an infection.
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.
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Taking Preventative Or Prophylactic Antibiotics
For children who have recurrent bladder infections, a daily low-dose of antibiotics can be given to control any bacteria that may get into the bladder. Prophylactic antibiotics are appropriate in the following situations:
- Children with known anatomic abnormalities that make them prone to infections.
- Children without abnormalities who continue to have infections despite all the above non-medical preventions.
Your doctor and you will decide how long to stay on prophylaxis. Typically children will take an antibiotic for six to twelve months, then come off of it and monitor the urine.
When May My Child Need To Be Hospitalized For A Uti
Your child may need to be hospitalized for the following reasons:
- If theyre a young infant or child.
- If they have a high fever.
- If they have back pain.
- If theyre dehydrated .
- If he or she is unable to tolerate oral antibiotics.
- When there is a concern that the infection has spread to their bloodstream.
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What If My Child Has Had Quite A Few Bladder Or Kidney Infections
If your child has had pyelonephritis or cystitis more than a few times, your doctor may want to get x-rays of your child’s urinary tract. The x-rays would show the bladder, the ureters and the kidneys. Or your doctor might get a sonogram. The x-ray or the sonogram can show if there is a problem in the kidneys, the ureters or the bladder that causes infections. Your doctor may refer your child to a special doctor who treats urinary tract problems. Sometimes taking a low dose of an antibiotic for a long time can stop repeat infections.
Most children who have many UTIs don’t have a problem in the urinary tract. Instead, they have poor urinary habits. Teaching your child good bathroom habits can help prevent UTIs.
Contact Doctor Within 24 Hours
- Blood in urine and new onset since starting antibiotic
- Taking antibiotic more than 24 hours, and pain with passing urine is severe.
- Taking antibiotic more than 48 hours and fever still there or comes back
- Taking antibiotic more than 3 days and pain not better
- You think your child needs to be seen, but the problem is not urgent
Preventing Urinary Tract Infections
Here are some things you can do at home to help your child avoid urinary tract infections :
- Make sure your child always drinks plenty of water throughout the day.
- Encourage your child to urinate regularly, including before every meal or snack and before bed.
- Get a toilet step to support your childs feet until they reach the floor. This can be especially good for girls. The foot support helps them to relax their pelvic floors and stomach muscles so they can empty their bladders completely.
- Discourage your child from straining or trying to push urine out. This is especially important for girls.
- Teach your child to wipe from front to back after weeing or pooing. This is especially important for girls, because it can help to prevent the spread of bacteria forward from the anus.
- See your GP if your child has constipation or hard poo these are risk factors for UTIs.
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.
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What Causes Urinary Tract Infections In Children
The bacteria that cause a UTI normally live in poop. Most often, these bacteria get into the bladder by climbing backwards up the urinary tract. There are a number of things that can make UTIs more likely in children.
One exception is during infancy. During this stage of life, UTIs happen most in boys who are not circumcised. This is because the foreskin of the penis can trap bacteria. If your baby boy is not circumcised, keep the outside of his penis clean, change his diapers frequently, and let your doctor know if you are concerned about a UTI. The foreskin should never be pulled back for cleaning in babies it is naturally still attached to the head of the penis and can cause damage if you try to pull it back. By the time boys reach their first birthday, this increased risk goes away.
Things You Can Do Yourself
To help ease pain:
- takeparacetamolup to 4 times a day to reduce pain and a high temperature for people with a UTI, paracetamol is usually recommended over NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or aspirin
- you can give childrenliquid paracetamol
- rest and drink enough fluids so you pass pale urine regularly during the day, especially during hot weather
It’s important to follow the instructions on the packet so you know how much paracetamol you or your child can take, and how often.
It may also help to avoid having sex until you feel better.
You cannot pass a UTI on to your partner, but sex may be uncomfortable.
Taking cystitis sachets or cranberry products has not been shown to help ease symptoms of UTIs.
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Who Gets Utis Which Children And Toddlers Are At Risk
UTIs are most common in immunosuppressed children and children who have been on antibiotics for a long period of time for other issues. If your child recently went through an organ transplantation, they are also more vulnerable to a urinary tract infection. Children can also be born with abnormalities of their urinary tract that make them more likely to get an infection.
Adults are also vulnerable to urinary tract infections.
Home Remedies For Uti
One of the challenges of treating your toddlers UTI is that he or she may not be very cooperative. It takes a few tries to get him or her to take medicine or try something else.
With the home remedies weve listed, you have a lot of options that will enable you to find something your toddler is willing to put up with. The main goal is to get him or her healed, but the first step is getting your toddler to undergo treatment.
We think that there is something to suit everyone on this list. As a bonus, if you get a UTI, you can also use these suggestions. They are not just for toddlers.
Just remember, though, if you treat at home and your child develops a fever or the symptoms are not going away, you should seek medical help as soon as possible and discontinue the home remedy.
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What Are Risk Factors For Utis In Children
Risk factors predisposing for childhood UTIs include the following:
- urinary frequency ,
- urinary urgency , and
- loss of previously established urinary control .
Nonspecific but common symptoms include fever and abdominal pain. For some children less than 2 years of age, these more subtle problems may be the only indicator of a UTI. Associated symptoms of concern include flank pain, fever, and vomiting. Obvious blood in the urine as well as a positive family history for childhood urinary tract infections are also red flags and should raise the level of concern. Interestingly, the odor and color of the urine are not predictors of a UTI.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Urine Infection
It can be difficult to tell if a child has a urine infection. If they are very young they may not be able to let you know where the problem is. If they are still wearing nappies, you may not notice them passing urine more often.
Young children, toddlers and babies can have various symptoms which may include one or more of:
- High temperature .
- Yellowing of the skin .
- Cloudy or smelly urine.
Older children may say that they have pain when they pass urine, and pass urine frequently. If a kidney becomes infected they may also have shivers and complain of tummy pain, back pain, or a pain in a side of the abdomen. Bedwetting in a previously dry child is sometimes due to a urine infection. Just being generally unwell may be due to a urine infection.
Note: a urine infection should be suspected in any child who is unwell or has a fever with no other clear cause. This is why a urine test is commonly done when a child is unwell. It is important to diagnose and treat a urine infection promptly.
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