Urine Infection in Kids: Symptoms, Causes & Treatments

It is considered common for a child to get aurinary tract infection. This infection is often associated with a virus, bacteria or fungi near the urinary tract, though bacteria are most often the main cause of these infections. Bacteria are always found in this area, but the body usually fights off. In some cases though, the bacteria gets into the urinary tract, leading to a urine infection in kids, or it can travel to the kidneys or bladder, leading to an infection of these areas as well.

What Are the Symptoms of Urine Infection in Kids?

Diagnosing a urine infection in kids can be difficult, but this really depends on the age of the child. There are times in which children may not really know what is wrong and pinpoint the pain that they may be feeling. There are several symptoms of this problem that parents can watch out for in babies and young children. These symptoms include:

  • Being drowsy
  • The skin becomes yellow
  • Fever, usually a very high temperature
  • Having digestive issues such as vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • The urine may appear cloudy or smell
  • Blood in the urine (which is highly uncommon)
  • A child may just act unlike themselves and cry or simply act as though they do not feel good

Older children will often complain of pain when they urinate, and feel the need to go to the bathroom more. They may also complain of stomach or back pain, and have shivers due to a fever.

When to call a doctor:

If a child shows signs of a high fever and chills, especially complaining about discomfort when urinating, you should take him to call a doctor immediately.

If you notice frequent bathroom breaks, especially at bed time, or your child complains of back or stomach pain, or the urine of the child smells odd or is cloudy, you need to call a doctor as well.

What Causes Urine Infection in Kids?

A urine infection in kids is most often caused by bacteria that enter into the urethra and travel through the urinary tract. Most times, the bacteria come from the feces or the large intestine. In small cases, the blood or lymph system carries the bacteria to the urinary system.

There are mainly 3 ways that bacteria can build up in urinary tract:

  • Transferred due to not wiping properly
  • Constipation
  • Not emptying the bladder when the child needs to urinate

There are times that a urine infection in kids is caused by the body not able to completely empty the bladder of urine, which is more of a structural issues with the bladder. Other times a block can cause the flow of urine to not work properly.

Infants and many young children have issues with the structures of their urinary tracts, which can lead to UTI’s. This structural problem will make it harder for the child to eliminate all the urine out of their bodies. In some cases, it will allow the urine to flow back into the kidneys which causes massive issues.

Other times there can be an obstruction in the urinary tract, such as a kidney stone. When an obstruction is present, it becomes harder to completely empty the bladder of all urine.

How to Treat Urine Infection in Kids

1. Home Treatment

Most of the time, urine infection in kids can be treated at home if the infection is not severe. And here are some common home treatments:

  • Antibiotics are used to treat and clear the infection. After taking antibiotics for several days, you need to take your child to the doctor and take another urine test to see if the infection is gone.
  • A medication for numbing the lining of the urinary tract could be prescribed to your child to make his urination easier and free of pains. But don’t worry about the urine color since this medication can turn the pee to an orange color, only temporarily.
  • Always keep track of the progress your child is making through, seeing how many times they go to the bathroom or if they have pain or burning sensations. In most cases, you should see improvement within 2 to 3 days.
  • Keep monitoring yourchild’s temperature and if the temperature goes above 101 F, you should call the doctor. Ensure that the child is keeping hydrated, but avoid caffeine containing drinks, such as soda, ice tea.

2. Medical Treatment

There are times in which treating urine infection in kids at home is not enough. This results in a hospital stay, during this time:

  • Children in the hospital are closely monitored for any change.
  • Antibiotics are given through IV’s to speed this getting into the body.
  • Kids are kept at the hospital when the infection has spread to the blood, they have a high fever, or they have existing kidney or bladder issues to contend with.

Can Urine Infection in Kids Be Prevented?

The idea of preventing a urine infection in kids is great, but the reality is that there is not much information that has proven to actually work. For example, many parents think that you cannot let a child take a bubble bath, but doctors say that this is fine. It’s the same with swimming in pools that are treated with chemicals. Other pieces of advice include drinking cranberry juice to prevent bacteria building up, but clinical trials have not proved that this helps.

All in all, there is really nothing that you can do to ensure that your child avoids a urinary infection. You simply have to monitor fevers and check for urine infections when you feel that this may be the culprit for why your child feels bad.