Dr. MJ Bazos MD,
Tract Infections in Children
What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an
infection in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the
bladder and the urethra. The kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that lie against
the spine in the lower back. Blood flows through the kidneys. Waste products
from the blood are removed in the kidneys and stored in the bladder as urine.
The bladder is the balloon-shaped organ that stores the urine. The urethra is
the tube that carries urine from the bladder outside the body.
How will I know if my child has a
Your child may have a UTI if he
or she has 1 or more of the following symptoms:
- Burning or pain when urinating
- Frequent urination with only small amounts of
- Irritable or fussy
- Less active
- Tummy pain
- Back pain
- Wetting his or her clothes even though he or she
is potty trained
- Urine that smells bad
- Bloody urine
What causes a UTI?
UTIs are caused by bacteria (germs)
getting into the bladder or the kidneys. The following things can sometimes
cause germs to get into the bladder or kidney:
- Having bubble baths
- Wearing tight-fitting clothing
- Holding urine for a long time
- Girls wiping from back to front, instead of front
to back after a bowel movement
Some children have a condition
that keeps their bladder from emptying all the way. These children may have UTIs
How is a UTI treated?
Some children who have a UTI have
to take medicine. Antibiotics are used to treat UTI. In most cases, antibiotics
can be given orally (by mouth). If the infection is severe, the antibiotics may
be given through a vein in the hospital. To cure the UTI, your child must take
all the medicine exactly as the doctor prescribes. It's also important that your
child drink enough fluids every day so the urine isn't
Can a UTI cause
serious damage to the kidneys?
Yes, sometimes a UTI can damage
the kidneys. It's important to call your child's doctor right away if you
believe he or she may have a UTI.
What if my child has UTIs again and
You doctor may want to check to
see if an anatomical (physical) problem is causing the UTIs. If so, surgery may
be needed to fix the problem. Some children with bladder or kidney problems have
to take medicine all the time so they won't get another UTI. This medicine is
taken once a day.
How can we
Here are some things
that may help prevent UTIs in your child:
- Avoid giving your child bubble baths.
- Dress your child in loose-fitting clothing
- If you have a girl, teach her to wipe from front
to back after she uses the bathroom so that germs from the rectum aren't wiped
into the vagina.
- Some children don't go to the bathroom often
enough. If your child does this, teach him or her to go to the bathroom several
times each day.
- If you have an uncircumcised boy, teach him how
to wash the foreskin on his penis