- By the time a child is 5 years old, about 8 percent of girls and 1 - 2 percent of boys have had a urinary tract infection (UTI).
- Bacteria are not normally found in urine.
- UTIs are more common in girls than boys.
- Infections are more common in the urethra and bladder, which make up the lower part of the urinary tract.
- Infections that move up to the kidneys can be more serious.
- If left untreated, these infections have a risk of leading to kidney failure.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs of UTI may be difficult to assess in young not toilet trained children.
- Pain, or burning when urinating
- Frequent urination or feeling an increased urge to urinate, even without producing urine
- Foul-smelling urine that may look cloudy or contain blood
- Low back pain or pain in the area of the bladder
Diagnosis and Treatment
- A sample of urine will be taken for examination.
- Older children will most often be asked to urinate in a sterile container.
- Babies and small children in diapers may need a catheter (tube) to collect urine. The catheter keeps the sample from being contaminated by bacteria on the skin.
- The type of bacteria found may help decide the best drug to treat the UTI, usually antibiotics.
- It is important to give your child all the antibiotic course, even if he or she is feeling better.
- Most UTIs will be cured within a week if treated properly.
- The child should be urged to drink plenty of fluids.
- If a child has more than one UTI or has fever along with symptoms of UTI, he or she should see a Urologist.
- A Urologist will see if anything is abnormal in the child’s urinary tract. A common problem causing UTIs in children is a backwards flow of urine, condition known as VUR.
- Frequent diaper changes can help prevent UTIs in babies and small children.
- When children start toilet training, it is important to teach them good bathroom habits.
- After each bowel movement, children should wipe from front to rear — not rear to front.
- When feeling the urge to urinate, children should also avoid “holding it” if they can reach a bathroom. Urine remaining in the bladder gives bacteria a good place to grow.
If in doubt, consult a pediatrician or a urologist immediately.