Why Children Develop Urinary Tract Infections #A2ZChallenge

Though a bacterial infection, the bladder has many ways of eliminating the bacteria and preventing the infection. However, sometimes a child’s body cannot fight the bacteria and gets the infection instead.

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are very very common in children. These may happen when bacteria gains their way into the kidneys and the bladder. The infection which involves the kidneys is often referred to as the upper UTI. The one that involves the bladder is the lower UTI.

Shocked that how can children get UTI. The first time I heard a colleague’s son getting UTI. I was rather puzzled that the young boy hardly goes out of the house. He must be using clean loos at home but still, he contracted the germs of the UTI.

Recognising UTI: By looking at the symptoms it can be difficult to diagnose UTI. This is for the fact that the symptoms are common to the other illnesses and children are not able to communicate properly. These symptoms are:

  • High fever
  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting

However, the symptoms which are specific to UTI in children are:

  • Burning sensation and pain while peeing
  • Purposely holding their pee
  • An urge to pee rather frequently
  • Smelly pee
  • Blood in their pee
  • Pain in their stomach and lower back
  • Change in toilet habits like bed wetting

The best way to diagnose a UTI is collecting the child’s urine sample. Once UTI is confirmed treatment can be started immediately with antibiotics which are very effective.

Why Children Develop UTI:

UTI is rather common in children and is usually caused by the bacteria of their digestive system which gains entry into the urethra (a tube connected to the urinary bladder and removes the urine from the body). Still wondering how this can happen? Well, the germs gain entry in the following ways:

  • When children wipe their bottoms and the soiled tissue paper comes in contact with the genitals, it can give rise to the infection. This is very common in girls as their urethra is closer to the bottoms.
  • In the case of babies, small fragments of their poop may get stuck in the urethra when they soil their nappies and diapers. The chances of this are high when they keep wriggling a lot during the diaper change.

However, some children are at a higher risk of contracting UTI because they may have problems with emptying their bladder. These conditions are:

  • Constipation: This is common in children. When constipation occurs the large intestines swell and they put pressure on the bladder. This further prevents the bladder from emptying in a normal way.
  • Vesicoureteral Reflux: This is a condition where the urine goes back to the bladder and into the kidneys and ureters. This is usually due to a problem in the valves. About 1 in 3 children with fever and UTI have this condition.
  • Dysfunctional Elimination Syndrome: This is a condition of acquiring abnormal patterns of emptying bladders like holding on to their pee even when they have an urge to visit the toilet.

How can we Prevent UTI in Children:

If we do our best we can prevent a child from getting UTI. Here are some ways which are not only easy but helpful as well:

  • Newborns should be exclusively breastfed for a minimum of 6 months. This helps to strengthen the baby’s immune system and also reduces the chances of constipation.
  • The child should take in enough fluids and visit the bathroom at regular intervals. Holding on the pee makes it easier for the bacteria to enter the kidneys.
  • Make sure that you wipe a girls bottom from front to back. This reduces the chances of bacterial invasion from the urethra. Also, encourage your girl to do the same.
  • Stick to cotton undergarments. Nylon undergarments can become an easy breeding place for the bacteria, thus loose fitting and comfortable cotton wear should be selected.
  • Perfumed soaps and bubble baths should be avoided as these may lead to the irritation of the urethra, thereby increasing the risk of UTI.

Teaching the children about good hygiene can further help in preventing cases of UTI’s.

Also Read:

Theme Reveal, A – Autism, B – Bronchiolitis, C – Celiac Disease, D – Dyslexia, E – Eating Disorders, F – Fever, G – GERD, H – Hand Foot And Mouth Disease (HFMD), I – Imaginary Friends, J – Juvenile Arthritis, K – Kawasaki Disease, L – Leukaemia, M – Meningitis, N – Neuroblastoma, O – Omphalitis, P – Pica, Q – Q Fever, R – Retinoblastoma, S – SIDS, T – Tetanus

 

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Shubhra Rastogi Written by:

Well, about me I can say that I am a certified dentist, healthcare analyst, medical writer and above all a mother of a 6-year-old. Most of my day to day activities revolve around her and she is my inspiration to start this blog. As a mother, I experimented with a lot of new things for my little one in a quest to find the best for her. I just want to share my experiences of being a happy and content mum.

17 Comments

  1. April 24, 2019
    Reply

    My niece had UTI as a kid and it was painful to see her howl and shriek while peeing. And somehow it didnt get treated well, so the poor child had to suffer for more than a fortnight!

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 24, 2019
      Reply

      Oh, poor baby. She must have gone through a lot of pain.

  2. April 24, 2019
    Reply

    Another well researched and informative post! You are doing a good job 🙂 this helps a lot of parents.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 24, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Sanjota

  3. Noor Anand Chawla
    April 24, 2019
    Reply

    Wow I had no idea UTI’s were so prevalent in children! I’m glad you’ve also listed preventive measures here.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 24, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Noor

  4. abhijit
    April 24, 2019
    Reply

    While girls getting UTI because of anatomical proximity of urethra with anus is understandable, it is difficult to fathom how boys get it. But we know it happens and UTI can be caused by bacteria which are resistant to antibiotics, Treating antibiotic resistant UTI has become a major challenge for clincians.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 24, 2019
      Reply

      The frequency of UTIs in girls is much greater than in boys. However, UTI is common in boys as well. Yes antibiotic resistant UTI can be challenging. Thanks for reading.

  5. abhijit
    April 24, 2019
    Reply

    While occurrence of UTI in girls is understandable due to anatomical proximity of anus and urethra, it is difficult to understand how boys get it. Nevertheless, UTI happens in both sexes. More serious concern for clinicians is treating UTI, because in many cases offending bacteria is antibiotic resistant.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 24, 2019
      Reply

      Thanks, Vidhya

  6. April 24, 2019
    Reply

    I had no idea that kids could get UTI until a close friends daughter had it at just 3 yrs. She had joined school and come out of the diaper phase. In a month of schooling, she came back with higher fever and vomiting that was diagnosed as UTI. Really scary.

  7. Shubhra Rastogi
    April 24, 2019
    Reply

    Yes it can be really scary as we take it for granted that children can never have UTI

  8. April 24, 2019
    Reply

    A few days back when one of my kids complained about itching in her private part, I suspected it could be UTI and read a lot about it. On getting checked, thankfully everything was normal but its a very scary disease.

    • Shubhra Rastogi
      April 24, 2019
      Reply

      Yes can be scary and painful for a child. Thanks for visiting by.

  9. April 24, 2019
    Reply

    Very useful insights. UTI in kids can be so painful.

  10. April 24, 2019
    Reply

    I knew about this one… but your post has definitely broadened my understanding… yes it is quite a common infection in kids also these days.

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