Shared 3 years ago• Featured Tip
Many children all over the world are affected by urinary tract infections or UTIs that can be resolved with simple antibiotics, but might also lead to complications at times. Most often, kids under 2 years of age are affected by it, and either the bladder or the kidney might be infected leading to cystitis or pyelonephritis.
Causes of UTIs
Though bacterial infections are the most common cause, viral or fungal infections might occur in some cases as well. Uncircumcised male infants, children with poor toilet habits, or female children with poor toilet hygiene are most susceptible to this disease. That is why; females must always wipe from front to back to avoid infecting the urethra. Children suffering from a weak immune system might also be at a risk.
Symptoms and signs
UTIs come with different signs including pain during urinating (dysuria), frequent urination, abnormal urge for urination, or bedwetting. Sometimes, fever, abdominal pain, blood in urine or vomiting might be signs as well.
Which doctor to consult?
In most cases, UTIs in children are treated by pediatricians, but if kidney function is troubled then a pediatric nephrologist needs to be contacted.
Tests carried out: To understand the underlying cause of the infection and any anatomical or functional risk factors, several examinations or tests are carried out. Vital signs like blood pressure, body temperature, and breathing rate are checked. The abdomen is palpated to find tenderness near the kidneys. Genital areas are also examined for signs of trauma, redness, discharge and such. Urine cultures are essential for diagnosing UTIs finally and this helps in assessing the antibiotic sensitivity profile too.
Good to know: Right after an antibiotic is administered, UTI in children starts getting resolved. But recurrent UTIs might lead to urinary tract abnormalities like kidney malformation. Also note that UTI is not contagious, and cannot be passed on if children share a bath or if you sit on an infected toilet seat.
In most cases, UTIs respond well to oral antibiotics, though Pyelonephritis may require hospitalization and intravenous drip. Some studies are also carried out to check if the child is susceptible to renal scarring or kidney failure. These are as below:
Renal ultrasound: Defines the location of the kidneys and their size and shape clearly.
Voiding cysto-urethrogram: The bladder is filled with a dye through a catheter in this method. Then the catheter is removed to study if the bladder is getting emptied without any reflux or obstruction.
Renal scan: To test the functioning of the kidneys and the risk of renal scarring, a bit of radioactive material is used.
Intravenous pyelogram: Though rarely used, in this method, a dye is injected into the bloodstream and X-ray images are obtained.
Maintaining proper hygiene: Girls should wipe from front to back and uncircumcised boys should be able to gently retract the foreskin to reveal the urethral opening.
Complete voiding of bladder: Encourage kids to urinate every two to three hours, since they often ignore a full bladder to carry on playing.
Avoid foods: Keep kids away from caffeine, carbonated drinks, excess chocolates, and too much citrus.