Quick Guide to Identify Urinary Tract Infection in Kids

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Kids and infections go hand in hand. Statistically, 8 out of 100 girls and 2 out of 100 boys suffer from Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) at least once under the age of 5. The most common symptoms of UTI in a child are fever and pain while passing the urine.

Quick Guide to Identify Urinary Tract Infection in Kids

Important Facts Regarding UTI in kids

  1. Urinary tract infection in kids is mostly triggered by pathogens like E. coli, Klebsiella, Proteus, Enterobacter, Citrobacter, Staphylococcus saprophyticus, etc. These are also referred to as uropathogens.
  2. Poop or bacteria from skin can get into the urinary tract, multiply and affect the immune system of the body. These infections can be notably seen in kidneys, bladder, ureter, and urethra.
  3. Common causes of UTI in kids are constipation and incomplete bladder emptying. When the urine is left in the bladder, it plays as the host for bacteria to multiply and cause more infection.
  4. A girl child can succumb to UTI more quickly than a boy baby because their urethra is shorter. Also, bacteria from the anus can enter the urinary tract and vagina causing infection in both parts.
  5. Kids who have birth defects in urinary bladder and kidneys are prone to UTI. If the urinary tract is narrow, it can block the urine and make the germs multiply and infections grow.

What are the Symptoms of UTI in Kids?

The common symptoms of UTI in kids include:

  1. Pain in the lower belly, back, and sides
  2. Urge to pass urine often
  3. Blood in the urine / pink urine
  4. Burning sensation while peeing
  5. Foul-smelling urine or cloudy urine
  6. Fever
  7. Nausea
  8. Vomiting
  9. Diarrhea
  10. Fussy nature
  11. Lack of appetite

If a child has a repeated incidence of UTI, the pediatrician refers to a nephrologist to perform the following tests to identify if there are any further infections/problems in the urinary tract.

  1. Ultrasound CT or MRI scan to capture the kidney, bladder, and the complete urinary tract
  2. Nuclear scan to analyze the kidney function
  3. Voiding Cystourethrogram (VCUG) to analyze how the baby passes the urine. It is a functional test that places fluid into the bladder.

Complications of UTI

UTI in kids is completely curable. However, some complications associated with UTI in kids are:

  1. Renal parenchymal defects (children younger than 2 years and affected by UTI have more possibility of these defects)
  2. Renal scarring leading to hypertension
  3. Chronic renal failure

Treatments and Precautions

Antibiotics (7-day course) are used to kill the bacteria completely. An incomplete course of antibiotics can cause a relapse of UTI in kids. To prevent UTI, the following steps need to be taken:

  1. Diapers need to be changed often in toddlers.
  2. Wearing cotton instead of nylon underpants increases airflow and prevents bacterial growth.
  3. Kids need to drink a lot of water and should be taught to use washrooms frequently.

Many kids suffer from Urinary Tract Infections (UTI). These infections are completely curable. However, sometimes, these might lead to various complications. Therefore, it is vital to take use of proper treatment and follow the right precautionary steps.

Dr. Sarvesh Tyagi
Dr. Sarvesh Tyagi is a consultant child specialist & neonatal interventionist practicing in Prem Dharam Hospital & Diagnostic, Ghaziabad. He has over 16 years of experience. He is an expert in treating pediatric problems. He completed his M.B.B.S. in 2000 from Maulana Azad Medical Colege, New Delhi. He is holding the membership of IAP & National Neonatology Forum

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