Common Baby Genital Problem: Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in young children, about 8% of girls and about 1-2% of boys have suffered from one by the time they are five years old.  While they are easily treatable, it is important to catch them early to prevent serious complications such as kidney damage. Read below to find out what you need to know to prevent and respond to UTI.s

What is it , Who is more likely to get one

Courtesy of KidsHealth.org
Courtesy of KidsHealth.org

UTIs develop when bacteria infect the urinary tract, which is the area of the body that includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.

An infection can settle anywhere along this tract, but the lower part — the urethra and bladder — is the most commonly affected area. When an infection occurs in this region the condition is known as cystitis. If the infection becomes serious and progresses up towards the kidneys, it’s called pyelonephritis.

Girls tend to experience UTIs more frequently than boys because a female’s urethra is shorter and closer to the anus, a known source of bacteria.

Signs and symptoms

Signs of a UTI can vary according to a child’s age and which part of the urinary tract is infected. Sometimes the only symptom is a lingering fever. Other signs of a UTI or bladder infection include:

  • pain, burning, or stinging sensation when peeing urinating
  • an increased urge to urinate or frequent urination (especially at night)
  • wetting problems, even though toilet trained
  • low back or abdominal pain near the bladder (generally below the navel)
  • foul-smelling urine that may be cloudy or contain blood

Treatment

Once your pediatrician has confirmed a UTI via a urine sample, they will usually prescribe antibiotics. Children should also be encouraged to drink plenty of fluids.

If the infection has not cleared up following routine treatment, your doctor may order additional tests, such as an ultrasound of the kidneys and bladder or X-rays to check for abnormalities in the structure or function of the urinary tract.

If you think your child might be suffering from a UTI, contact your pediatrician or make an appointment with Children’s Urology by calling (512) 472-6134.

Click here for more information on UTIs from kidshealth.org.

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