Pediatric Urinary Tract Infections
Barry Chang, MD, is a pediatric urologist with Cardon Children's Medical Center.
Question: My child seems to get regular urinary tract infections. Could that cause damage as she gets older?
Answer: Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in children. A bladder infection occurs when bacteria moves up the urethra and into the bladder. This can often be traced back to children who don’t urinate enough or who don’t relax their muscles properly while urinating.
If left untreated, recurrent UTIs may cause kidney damage so it is important to recognize the signs and get help for your child. Some symptoms of UTIs may include:
- Pain when urinating
- Changes in frequency, appearance or smell of urine
- Lower abdominal pain
- Lower back discomfort or pain
- Loss of appetite
- Fever or chills.
If you see any of these signs in your child, it is important to talk with your pediatrician to see if a visit to a pediatric urologist is necessary. Your child might experience recurrent UTIs because of an abnormality in his or her body structure, such as a swollen kidneys or Vesico-ureteral reflux. Most UTIs need to be treated with medication, such as antibiotics. However, there are some things parents can do to help prevent recurrent UTIs:
- Encourage kids to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water or other fluids per day, which helps flush bacteria from the urinary tract
- Make sure kids get their vitamins
- Change diapers frequently and use proper wiping techniques
- Use cotton underwear
- Correct constipation
- Always schedule a follow up visit with your doctor.