Bladder Infection in Children

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Bladder infections, also known as urinary tract infections, sometimes affect kids, causing them discomfort when going to the the bathroom. The urinary tract consists of the bladder, ureters, urethra and kidneys. Infections generally affect only the bladder and urethra, but the infection can progress up to the kidneys, creating a more serious problem.


Cause

Bacteria is normal on the penis or vagina, and it sometimes travels up the urethra. Most of the time, regular urination washes the bacteria back out of the urethra. In a bladder infection, the bacteria travels up the urethra and multiplies inside the bladder. The shorter urethra in girls makes them more likely get get bladder infections. Certain circumstances increase the chances of the bacteria reaching the bladder. A child who holds in his urine doesn’t flush out the bacteria quickly, giving it enough time to reach the bladder. An irritated urethra makes it easier for bacteria to enter. A child who doesn’t wipe well leaves more bacteria near the urethra for a higher risk of infection. Some children are born with abnormalities in the urinary tract, making them more prone to bladder infections.

Symptoms

The symptoms of bladder infections usually revolve around urination. Your child might feel a strong urge to urinate and complain of pain. The urination itself is often painful or causes a burning sensation. An increase in urination or a foul smell and cloudy appearance to the urine might also signal a urinary tract infection. A child who is already potty trained might suddenly start having wetting accidents. In a more severe infection, fever is sometimes present.

Treatment

A urine sample analyzed by a physician diagnoses a bladder infection. Based on the results, the physician might prescribe an antibiotic to clear up the infection. Home remedies might help the antibiotics work more efficiently to get rid of the bacteria. Cranberry juice is often recommended for bladder infections. According to the Ask Dr. Sears website, the juice makes it difficult for the bacteria to hold onto the bladder, so it is easier to flush. Drinking lots of water also helps flush out the bladder and increases the need to urinate. Encourage your child to urinate frequently to clear out the bladder. Warm baths might provide some relief to your child. It might also ease the burning sensation caused by urination.

Time Frame

A urinary tract infection usually responds quickly to the antibiotics. The infection typically clears up about a week after treatment begins. Your child should take the full course of antibiotics, even if she begins feeling better before it is gone.

Prevention

Proper hygiene helps prevent bladder infections. Frequent diaper changes and wiping the entire area well reduces bacterial spread. As kids get older, make sure they wipe themselves thoroughly after using the bathroom. Encourage frequent trips to the bathroom to empty the bladder, especially if your child is prone to bladder infections. Drinking plenty of fluids keeps the system flushed and encourages more frequent urination. Avoid irritating soaps in the bath.

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