Potty sessions, proper wiping, food habits, bubble bath, avoid constipation, choice of clothes, urinating completely and staying hydrated are some of the ways for UTI prevention in children.
UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) has now become very common in children too. Children are more likely to get a lot of infections in the first five years of their life and UTI is now one of them. The symptoms of UTI can be very hard to spot, hence a delay in the treatment will lead to your child experiencing pain and discomfort. As much as treatment is important, it is more important to prevent it from happening in the first place. Read on further to get a complete track about the UTI infection in children and the ways to prevent UTI.
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Children get infected with UTI when the bacteria on their skin or the bacteria present in the poop travel into the Urinary tract and then multiply in number. These bacteria can cause not only UTI but many infections anywhere inside the Urinary tract especially the areas that are concerned with the Urine transportation and the areas connected to the urinary tract.  The areas which can be affected by the UTI are:
- Ureters – the tubes that transport urine into the bladder from the kidneys.
- Kidneys – they filter the waste and adequate water out of the blood to make urine. The infection in kidneys is called Pyelonephritis
- Bladder – it stores urine. The infection in the bladder is called Cystitis.
- Urethra – this empties up the urine out of the body from the bladder.
Causes of UTI in Children
- Coli bacteria present in the large intestine.
- Bacteria from the skin, near and around anus or vagina, and other bacteria.
Some of the risk factors to get infected with UTI in children are:
- Abnormal function of the Urinary tract.
- Poor hygiene habits
- Holding in urine for a long time
- A birth defect called Vesicoureteral reflux, an abnormality which causes the urine to flow backward.
- Blockage in the Urinary tract.
Symptoms of UTI in Children
The symptoms differ from child to child on the basis of their age and the level or degree of the infection. Generally, symptoms don’t appear in infants and toddlers. Although, the symptoms in younger children are more clear. Children can experience the following:
- Poor appetite
- Irritability and pain in the lower abdomen, sides or in the back
- Having an intense urge to pee, Pee very often or peeing only a few drops after having to the urge to urinate
- Cloudy pee, Foul-smelling pee, dark pee or a bloody pee
- Vomiting and Nausea
- Burning pain while peeing
- Fatigue or feeling shaky
If your child experiences fever and chills, then it is a sign that the infection might have reached the kidneys.
8 Ways for UTI Prevention in Children
Prevention is always better than having to deal with the infection later on. An ounce of prevention is worth that much as of a pound of cure. So, train your children considering the habits below to help them stay hygienic and infection-free.
Children often hold in their pee for a long time especially while playing, just so they can play without taking breaks. Children with a past experience of the UTI tend to hold in their pee as some children percept that it might hurt again when they pee. Ask your child to use the potty or go to the washroom every 2-3 hours. Leaving the urine inside the bladder for a long time can lead to UTI or even stone formation. So, don’t make it an option.
Most of the children wipe from back to front which is an incorrect way. The correct way of wiping is from the front to back. Make sure that your child knows not to use the same tissue to wipe their urethral area, with the tissue that they had used to wipe their bottom with. It is very important to teach the kids about these bathroom habits.
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Some foods and beverages can cause irritation in the bladder. These foods are favorite among children. Eating them is not a big deal, but very frequent intake might not only cause bladder irritation but can also be bad for health. Some of these food and beverage offenders are coke, chocolates, caffeinated drinks, etc. Be aware of what your child eats all day.
Showers and normal baths are completely fine. But when it comes to bubble baths, they are not so healthy and hygienic. Bubble baths that contain frothiness or frothy soap can be fun and exciting for kids, but they can lead to skin irritation in and around the genitalia. So, avoid frequent bubble baths and longer bubble baths.
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Some children have a habit of holding in their stool or poop. Children who do that are more likely to also hold in their pee. Make sure that your child has a bowel movement once every day. Holding in stool can lead to UIT because when the stool stays in the lower region of the colon, it makes the bacteria to be in a closer proximity to the urethra.
Choice of Clothes
If your child is not toilet trained or cannot control, then the underwear must be changed frequently and immediately as the moisture present can lead to the growth of bacteria, which in turn causes UTI. Doctors recommend only cotton underpants, especially during summer. Anything tight or different material like Nylon doesn’t allow the air to circulate.
Some children just pee enough for the sensation to go away to get back to their work or play. They might also not empty their bladder completely if they are habituated to holding in their urine. This habit tightens the muscles in their bladder while they are in the middle of peeing, making them stop early. If this is the case, ask your child to double pee everytime they go to the bathroom. Make sure they try to pee again immediately after they just peed.
The color of the urine is mostly associated with the child’s water intake. The urine should be of a very light color which seems almost like water. The bladder is at it’s healthiest stage when it is flushed out or emptied frequently. So, get your children to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated enough. Dark urine causes a burning sensation which can make the children hold in their urine. Water also prevents constipation which is another cause of UTI.
UTI is more common in girls than boys as their urethra is shorter which allows the bacteria from the anus to get into the vagina more easily. If your child is diagnosed with UTI, UTI treatment like antibiotics is very crucial as the infection can turn into a serious kidney infection or other infections in the connected areas. Do make sure to prevent this infection from occurring again in the future by following all the ways mentioned above, in addition to a proper hygiene.
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