Urinary Tract Infection In Toddlers - 7 Causes & 11 Symptoms You Should Be Aware Of

Urinary Tract

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Toddlers are a lot of fun. They are just developing a personality, and they can charm even the most stone-hearted. The last thing you’ll think of when you see a toddler at play is a urine infection!

Most of us consider UTIs to be a grown up disease. But that is far from the truth. Urine infections in toddlers are surprisingly considered common! Girls are more susceptible to this disease than boys. Two percent boys and eight percent girls are likely to get a urine infection in their childhood (1). So, chances are high that you’ll have to deal with a UTI in your little one’s toddlerhood.

What Causes Urine Infection In Toddlers?

You can blame bacteria for UTIs! They happen when bacteria manage to enter into the bladder or the kidneys. Usually, urine is sterile, and the urinary tract is a hostile environment for bacteria. But there are ways with which these harmful microorganisms can enter your toddler’s body.

1. Vesicoureteral Reflux:

Some children are born with this problem. This condition allows urine to flow back into the urethra and kidneys. This provides bacteria an easy passage into the body.

[ Read: Stomach Flu In Toddlers ]

2. Brain Or Nervous System Illnesses:

Certain health issues like myelomeningocele, spinal cord injury, hydrocephalus, etc. can make it difficult for your toddler to empty her bladder, which in turn can cause UTI.

3. Bubble Baths:

Your toddler loves bubble baths. So do you. But what you don’t know is that these fun baths can lead to UTIs. As can tight fitting clothes.

4. Birth Defects:

Certain children enter the world with deformed urinary tracts. This condition too can cause UTIs in toddlers.

5. Lack Of Water:

If your child is not drinking enough water, she may end up with a UTI.

[ Read: Stomach Pain In Toddlers ]

6. Wiping Wrong:

Notice when you are wiping your toddler clean. Are you wiping back to front? This can bring the bacteria from near the anus to the front and inside the urethra. This is especially true for girls.

7. Circumcision:

According to research, boys who are not circumcised are more likely to get UTIs. (2).

Symptoms Of Urinary Tract Infection In Toddlers:

If you suspect UTI, check your toddler for the following symptoms.

  1. Crying or fussiness while passing urine. This may indicate pain or burning.
  2. Frequent need to urinate
  3. Difficulty emptying bladder
  4. Foul-smelling urine
  5. Urine that looks cloudy or muddy
  6. Vomiting
  7. Refusal to eat
  8. Abdominal pain
  9. Tiredness
  10. Chills
  11. Diarrhea

Even if you notice a few of these symptoms, take your toddler to the doctor.

Diagnosing UTI:

If your doctor suspects a UTI, he will order a few tests. The primary tool used to diagnose a UTI is a urine test. Your child will need to give a urine sample. This will also help your doctor determine which bacteria is causing the infection.

The problem is to get a sterile urine sample. For this, you’ll have to talk to your toddler and guide her to follow instructions. With a toddler, this simple activity can turn out to be a nightmare, So stay calm and get it done, somehow!

There are other ways to get a clean sample, but they are invasive. So try and coach your baby to get a sample without any intervention.

Your doctor may also ask for additional tests because a UTI may indicate a problem with your baby’s urinary tract. Some of these tests include:

  • An ultrasound
  • A voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)
  • Nuclear scans

Once your doctor gives a clear diagnosis, your child is on her way to recovery!

Treating Urinary Tract Infection In Toddlers:

The treatment for most UTIs includes a course of antibiotics. The antibiotic your doctor prescribes will depend on the bacteria causing the infection. The course may last five days or even two weeks. Your doctor will take a call on that depending on the infection and the medicine.

Never discontinue an antibiotic course midway, even if your baby seems okay. This will kill the infection from the root. If your child is too ill to take medication, she may have to spend a few days in the hospital.But this happens only in rare cases, so don’t panic.

If your doctor comes across a deeper problem, he might take a different treatment route. If there is a blockage or a deformity, your toddler may need a surgery.

[ Read: Appendicitis In Toddlers ]

Can You Prevent UTIs?

Yes, you can! A few steps and you can be sure UTIs will be a thing of the past. Here’s what you need to do to prevent UTIs:

  1. Make sure your child is drinking enough water. If not water, try other fluids. The purpose is to prevent constipation. Also, if your toddler drinks more, she’ll pass urine more frequently, flushing the urinary tract clean.
  2. Toddlers are always in a hurry. So, make sure your child empty her bladder completely each time she passes urine. Hover around and remind her to spend a few seconds more on the toilet seat.
  3. Make sure your child is eating healthy.
  4. Avoid harsh chemical soaps. And always remember to wipe from front to back to prevent UTIs.
  5. Try cranberry juice. Studies suggest that this home remedy can help prevent UTI (3). The taste may not appeal to your little one. But try, nonetheless.

The mere thought of your toddler ending up with a UTI may be scary. But remember, UTIs are common. And they are easily treated and prevented. So, don’t worry. If your toddler is suffering from a UTI right now, a dose of antibiotic will do the trick. And then make sure to follow the preventive measures mentioned here to keep UTIs at an arms length!

Do you know of any other home remedy for treating UTIs in children? Share with us!

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