Urinary Tract Infection - UTI

Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) are quite common among children. In some cases, these infections can indicate other kidney disorders. It’s extremely important to treat the infection in a timely manner to prevent further renal involvement.

A UTI is caused by the infiltration of bacteria into the urinary tract. Generally, these bacteria are intestinal bacteria and are able to infiltrate due to the close proximity between the urethra and the anus. E coli, bacteria found in the intestines are the most common bacteria that cause UTIs. Other causes include:

  • Anatomical problems – This primarily refers to an injury to the valve between the bladder and the ureter, resulting in the return of contaminated urine to the kidney. This condition is called reflux. There are other possible anatomical problems which can cause UTIs such as problems in the urinary tract or emptying the bladder. Some congenital defects also increase the chance of developing the disease.
  • Regular Bowel Habits – diarrhea and constipation (affects girls)
  • Hygiene Habits – wiping after going to the bathroom must be done in the right direction
  • After a Circumcision

What symptoms should I look for?
0-2 years
Crying, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, frequent urination, pungent urine odor, fever, jaundice, no weight gain and crying while urinating

2-12 years
Frequent urination, pain and burning sensation during urination, brown urine with a pungent odor, leakage, wetting the bed, loss of appetite, stomach and hip pains, bloody urine, high fever and chills

Diagnosing a UTI
The first test is a urine sample, to look for white blood cells in the urine. Diagnosing and identifying the bacterial cause is done with a urine culture. The urine can be collected in a few ways:

  • For babies, we recommend inserting a needle into the bladder and extracting urine
  • Catheters can be used to extract urine from the bladder via the urethra
  • Older children can provide their own sample by peeing into a cup (the area will be properly sterilized)

Other diagnostic tests include blood tests, to check renal function and infections and an ultrasound to check the kidneys.

Treatment of a Urinary Tract Infection
Antibiotic treatment is administered immediately. It is important to administer the antibiotics exactly as the doctor prescribed, even if your child is feeling better and the infection seems to be gone. Stopping treatment beforehand can result in a more severe infection. If hospitalized, the child will receive antibiotic treatment intravenously. Following hospitalization, you will be given instructions for home medical treatment, hygiene and referrals for follow-up tests.

Two weeks after finishing antibiotic treatment, the doctor will take another urine sample to make sure the urine shows no signs of an infection. In some cases, the child will need to return a month after hospitalization to perform a VCUG test.

How to prevent a UTI

  • Good hygiene – make sure your daughter knows how to wipe herself properly after going to the bathroom. She should wipe downwards from the vagina towards the anus and not in the other direction.
  • Keep your child hydrated.
  • Washing with soap and water after a bowel movement
  • Make sure to change your child’s diaper in a timely manner