Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are quite common in people of all ages. They can affect children, adults, and even the elderly.
“A urinary tract infection is the presence of bacteria in the urine that are causing symptoms or some alteration of normal function,” he said. Linda Schmidgall, APRN. Linda specializes in pediatric urology at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois.
Some bacteria in urine are normal, but when they cause an infection, they can cause unpleasant symptoms or lead to more serious health problems.
“If a child has problems, it indicates that we need to step in and take care of things,” Linda said.
Symptoms of UTI
In very young children
Identifying UTI Symptoms can be more difficult in children who have limited vocabulary or who are not yet toilet trained.
“A younger child can’t tell you that it hurts to urinate,” Linda said.
Signs that your child may have UTI symptoms include:
- Not eating well
- Change in diaper smell
- Blood on a wet diaper
- Fever or other signs of illness that cannot be explained.
If your child experiences any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.
Children who are slightly older are likely to have symptoms that may seem more obvious, although symptoms may vary from child to child.
- Complain of pain when urinating
- Make frequent trips to the bathroom
- They have an increase in accidents or wetting the bed.
Your provider will usually collect a urine sample for two tests.
One is called urine analysis, which could show certain red flags that indicate suspected infection. This is usually provided in the office and only takes a few minutes to deliver results.
The second test, called a urine culture, is a test to measure and identify the specific bacteria present. This is important so your provider can prescribe the treatment that will most effectively treat your infection.
A urine culture is usually done in a laboratory and takes two to three days to deliver the results.
Because they are caused by bacteria, UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics.
If a child has repeated infections, it could be a sign that an underlying condition is contributing to their infections. In this case, your child may be referred to a specialist, such as a pediatric urologist, for evaluation.
Repeated infections can be caused by a physical condition, such as a birth defect called reflux vesicoureteral, that makes a child predisposed to urinary infections.
They can also be caused by behavior, such as “holding” it for too long or not completely emptying the bladder when going to the bathroom.
“When you potty trained He taught his son to hold it, ”Linda said. “When you combine that with the normal life of a child, they don’t want to stop what they are doing and go to the bathroom. They want to play with their friends, watch their shows, be at school. They just don’t take the time to go to the bathroom to relax and completely empty their bladder. “
Constipation can also be associated with UTIs as the source of the bacteria that causes an infection.
A pediatric urology specialist like Linda will help identify these underlying causes and treat them. In rare cases, physical problems may require surgery or medical intervention. Behavioral problems can often be solved with education and good habits.
“Let’s retrain your swords and guts and start over. I’ve heard other urologists say, ‘Let’s go back to basic potty training.’ The first thing I do with all of my patients is set a schedule for them to go to the bathroom. It’s getting those kids to acknowledge again what that feeling feels like instead of ignoring it, ”Linda said.