UTIs in children is the topic up for discussion today in one of our latest medical articles. Below, highly qualified consultant paediatrician, Dr Avanish Tantry, outlines the most common symptoms associated with UTIs in children, and tells us why treating UTIs is crucial.
How do you know if a child has a UTI?
Urine infections can present in various ways in children. In the young babies, symptoms can include fever, being unsettled, feeling sleepy, vomiting, or diarrhoea. Older children may also complain of pain while passing urine or may start going to the toilet more frequently, or start bed wetting. Any child that has a fever that is unexplained needs to be tested for a urine infection.
What’s the most common cause for UTI in children?
Constipation and poor toilet hygiene, or poor urinary voiding (that is, being in a hurry and not emptying the bladder completely when going to the toilet) are common causes. Children can often be very busy and in a hurry so it is important to train them to make sure they do not hurry and empty their bladder fully when they go to the toilet.
For girls, it is important they make sure they wipe from front to back and keep the genital areas clean. Urine infections may happen in children without an underlying cause and sometimes children may have underlying problems with their kidneys and urinary system that may predispose them to develop a UTI.
How long do UTIs last in children?
Sometimes, a mild urine infection might get better on it’s own as the body’s immune cells fight it. More commonly, urine infections need treatment with antibiotics. Symptoms should then get better within 48 hours.
Sometimes, infections can be severe and oral antibiotics might not be sufficient to treat it and children may have to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics. The duration of illness also depends on which bug has caused the infection, and if the bug is resistant to a lot of the commonly used antibiotics. In this case, it may take longer for the infection to respond.
How are UTIs in children treated?
UTIs are usually treated with oral antibiotics and most children will get better with this. When the infection is more severe or has been left undiagnosed for a few days, children might need intravenous antibiotics. However, once they start to improve, they can usually be switched to an appropriate oral antibiotic and discharged from hospital.
Can a UTI in children go away on its own? What can happen if a UTI is left untreated?
Mild infections can spontaneously improve, but antibiotics are usually needed. If a UTI is left untreated it can lead to complications.
The infection might get more severe and cause a pus collection around the kidneys. It can spill over into the blood and cause sepsis. It can also damage the kidneys and cause a scar on them, which can then potentially cause kidney problems and other issues like high blood pressure later on in life. It is therefore important to identify urine infections early and treat them promptly.
Dr Avanish Tantry is a highly accomplished consultant paediatrician. If you are worried that your son or daughter may potentially be suffering from a UTI, make sure you contact Dr Tantry today to book an appointment with him.