The urine infection is one of the most common infections in children. It is estimated that 3% of girls and 1% of boys suffer a urinary infection before reaching age 11.
Because of the prevalence, you can already see that girls suffer more than boys. It is a matter of anatomy and logic: girls have a shorter urethra and the output of urine is closer to the anus than in children, making it easier for germs to reach it. It is an infection of important detection because in early ages it could leave important sequels. Therefore, because of the prevalence and how serious they may be, we are going to talk about the most important thing parents should know in relation to a urine infection.
What are the causes?
The causes that can cause our child to have a urine infection are several. On the one hand are the malformations of the urinary tract , being the most frequent vesicoureteral reflux, which is the return of urine from the bladder to the ureters (it is normal for the ureters to carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder and that it does not return), that the diaper is not changed as often as necessary, that proper hygiene is not carried out (cleaning the girls from the vulva to the anus, not the other way around) and if it is a child with a foreskin very closed, a very marked phimosis that could favor the retention of microorganisms in the area of the glans and that rise through the urethra, to give some examples.
Infections can also occur if the child does not empty the bladder well, something that could happen if there is a neurological alteration or if there is constipation when it comes to bothering the bladder muscles to do their function. Continue reading: Chickenpox in children
What are the symptoms of a urine infection?
The symptoms of urine infection depend a little on the area where the infection occurs since it can occur in any of the structures of the body through which the urine passes, from the kidneys until it comes out (kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra). When the infection occurs in the bladder, it is called cystitis and the symptoms are a lower abdominal pain, a stronger smell and color of urine than usual, stinging when urinating and urinary frequency (urine more times but always a small amount) ).
If the infection affects a kidney or both is called pyelonephritis and is a more serious disease than the previous one, so much so that if left untreated it can leave irreversible damage to the kidneys. Symptoms of pyelonephritis are those already mentioned, which include pain in the lower back, chills, and fever.
In babies, who do not explain their symptoms, it is a bit difficult to guess at the diagnosis with the naked eye. They are irritable, reject some food, stagnant weight, vomit, have a fever, … The good thing, or the least serious, is that being a common infection doctors usually seek it when the child is not well and the focus of the infection is not found.
Possible sequelae that can cause a urine infection
Those who are more at risk of suffering sequelae are young children, both for the immaturity of their kidneys and how small they are and how late the diagnosis can be if the infection is not suspected. The sequelae that can lead to a urinary tract infection are scars in the kidneys. Which may impair function and work less than if the kidney was healthy, high blood pressure, etc.
As it can become serious, the important thing is to diagnose the infection as soon as possible to treat it and prevent the situation from getting worse. If we also take into account that 60% of nursing infants end up having one or more infections in the future. Which can affect the kidneys if they are not caught in time, rapid detection is even more important.
How do you make the diagnostic? How is it treated?
The first step in diagnosis is to take a urine sample and analyze it. The fastest, although less reliable, a method is to put the urine in contact with some test strips that tell us in two minutes if there is the presence of leukocytes or blood in the urine that may indicate the presence of infection. If any of the values are altered, it is necessary to analyze the urine in a laboratory to identify the presence of germs through a microscope.
In addition, a culture of the urine is done to see what germ grows and how to act to eliminate it. As the culture takes days to perform the antibiotic treatment is started before having the results, in order to prevent the infection is complicated. Later, if the culture shows that the treatment is wrong (the bacteria is resistant to the antibiotic that the child is taking) the correct antibiotic can be prescribed to kill the guilty germ (usually it is correct with the treatment because most of the time the causative germ is Escherichia coli, well known).
If the child is already one year old, and it is a urine infection in an area away from the kidneys, treatment can be done at home.
One week after finishing the treatment, another control urinalysis should be done to confirm that thanks to the treatment no germ remains in the urine. In case there are still germs will have to return to give treatment. Because for few that are, in a few days can be a second infection (which would be the same, but not cured at all).
And if it is confirmed that there has been pyelonephritis?
If it is confirmed that there has been involved at the renal level. Parents should become experts in diaper napkins (there is no course to do, this is easily learned by one, remembering how diapers smelled when the infection occurred) and the child the nephrologist should be referred for periodic check-ups to see how the child evolves (if he/she makes more infections, if he/she does not, if he/she needs to take an antibiotic preventively for a while, etc.) and to request the tests that he/she considers timely.
The most common tests are the so-called VCUG. Which is done to see if the child has vesicoureteral reflux and needs treatment of some kind and renal scintigraphy. Which is usually done when the child has already grown a little and has stopped making infections. Know how the kidneys are, if there are scars and ultimately to know how they are working.
Can a urine infection be prevented?
It may be difficult to ensure that a child never suffers from any urine infection. And more if it has some type of malformation. But as the main cause of an infection is the entry of germs that come from the anal area or the perianal zone. We can do something that minimizes colonization as much as possible:
Change diapers frequently. It is better to buy cheap diapers and change them often than to buy very expensive ones that absorb wonderfully and leave them to the child for hours.
Explain to older children that they should not hold their urine. But go to the toilet often (that way urine is not held in the bladder and, when urinating, they clean it outwards).
Dry the genitals after peeing. In girls cleaning from top to bottom, from vulva to the anus, obviously.
Use cotton underwear and soft soaps.
Offer children water to drink.
We also recommend to read this post: http://411-pain.org/dengue-fever-how-it-is-transmitted-and-what-are-the-symptoms/