Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are common in children but are not usually severe, as often times the child makes a fast and quick recovery. A urinary tract infection is caused by the presence of bacteria in the urine. In most cases the bacteria will live in the bowel and even though they may not directly cause harm to the bowels, they can endanger other body parts, if they gain access.

Some of these bacteria are fragments of excreta from the anus that finds its way into the urethra and multiply there, causing an infection. The infection is usually just in the bladder but may progress further to affect one or both kidneys. Frequent retention of urine in the urinary tract is also a major cause of urinary tract infection. When urine is passed, the bladder ought to be completely emptied completely, so as to flush out any bacteria that may have gained entrance into the bladder.

A urinary tract infection may be:
Upper –When the infection affects the tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder
Lower   – When the tube, carrying urine from the bladder out of the body is infected
Cystitis – When the infection has inflamed the bladder.

Even though UTIs are not usually a serious type of infection in children, they should be diagnosed and treated quickly to bridge further complications. Urinary tract infections are commonly known to be effectively treated with antibiotics.

Common symptoms of UTI in children

• Painful or burning sensation when peeing
• Frequent urination
• Loss of appetite
• Inability to hold urine and bedwetting
• Fever
• Cloudy or bloody pee
• Nausea and vomiting
• Tiredness
Weight loss
• Irritability and crankiness
• Loss of appetite
• Abdominal and back pain
• Unpleasant urine smell

In some cases, the infection may be severe, particularly if the child`s kidney is seriously infected. A severe or reoccurring infection of the kidney may cause permanent damage to the kidney and may even be life-threatening. Treatment is always recommended immediately. If treatment is delayed, the child may develop fatal kidney problems or high blood pressure in the future.

There are no clear cut reasons why your child may develop a UTI; however asides fragments of excreta getting into the urethra or retained urine in the urinary tract after urination, some of these could be responsible:

• Dysfunctional elimination syndrome – Here, the child has a difficulty with relaxing the sphincter muscles during urination, so they hold on to the pee regardless of the urge. This is particularly common with children.
• Constipation – this causes the dysfunction of the urinary tract, through the swelling of the large intestine. This swelling then puts intense pressure on the bladder, preventing it from emptying completely.
• Vesicoureteral reflux – This the backward flow of urine or leakage from the bladder into the ureters and kidneys.


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