During the urinary tract infections, microbes – usually bacteria – penetrate the urinary tract and multiply there. The process of developing urinary tract infection in children is mostly the same as in adults. However, the site of infection and its symptoms are rarely so pronounced in children as in adults. For example, infants with a urinary tract infection can only get slightly elevated temperature and lose the appetite. An older child will probably have an elevated temperature, will feel generally weak and have problems with urinary incontinence.
Urinary tract infections are quite common in childhood. In schoolchildren, this infection affects girls 25 times more than boys.
Dangers are small if a child had one or two isolated infections. But if the disease is repeated, then the child probably has some main disorder of the urinary tract (see chronic pyelonephritis article for other details). It is important that any such disorder is discovered and treated as soon as possible to prevent the appearance of chronic pyelonephritis.
What to do?
Take your child to a doctor if you suspect it has urinary tract infection. The doctor will examine it and probably take a sample of urine for laboratory analysis. If the finding indicates the presence of the infection, the doctor will refer the child to the hospital specialist for diagnostic tests that will include intravenous pyelogram (IVP) and cystography.
Self-help: make sure that your child adheres to all doctor’s instructions on taking extra liquid or specific foods. Encourage the child to empty the bladder completely while he / she is using the toilet. If necessary, send your child few times to the toilet in a period of a few minutes. Although the symptoms may calm down several days after the onset of the drug treatment, the treatment should be completed according to the instructions.
Professional help: the infection itself is usually cured by antibiotics in the form of tablets or liquids. If tests show an abnormality of the urinary tract, long-term antibiotic treatment is used to prevent recurrent infections, and corrective surgical treatment may be required.