UTI In Babies: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, And Prevention

Ally Villar
·4-min read

As parents, you want your kids to grow up in a safe and healthy environment. But even after taking all the necessary precautions, there are chances that children contract painful illnesses and infections. It’s even more challenging and heartbreaking for a parent when there’s an infant involved who is unable to express that pain.

Which is why it’s crucial to give your baby utmost attention when you notice any possible signs of an infection or illness. It’s also advisable to always be on the lookout for one of the most common illnesses among young ones: UTI or urinary tract infection.

Urinary Tract Infection Or UTI In Babies: Causes & Symptoms

Image source: iStock

A urinary tract infection (UTI) not only affects the urinary tract but also the bladder, urethra, and kidneys. The NHS says this usually occurs when bacteria from feces enters the urinary tract. This bacteria then goes through the tube that throws out urine from the system. The body may be able to get rid of the bacteria at times but when it doesn’t, it only builds up and causes an infection.

UTI is actually a common paediatric infection in infants and younger kids. In fact, according to SG Pediatrics, if your child appears to have a high fever with no other significant symptoms then they have a 1 in 20 chance of UTI.

For babies, they might get into contact with such bacteria from a dirty diaper or when they are wiped from back to front. Other causes of UTI and bacteria build up in infants include:

  • Constipation

  • Infrequent urination

  • Strong soaps in a bubble bath that can irritate the urethra

  • Tight-fitting clothes can also cause irritation

  • Being unable to empty the bladder can also lead to bacteria accumulating

When the body is unable to empty the bladder, this is usually because of complications in the urinary tract such as kidney stones. This can block the flow of the urine or vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) where urine can flow back to the kidney and causes an infection.

How Do I Know If My Baby Has UTI?

uti in babies
uti in babies

Image source: iStock

Early detection of UTI in babies is important as they would need to be treated right away. To check whether your little one has UTI, keep your eyes peeled for the following:

  • Fever, which is often the only symptom of UTI in babies

  • Crying during urination which could be due to pain

  • Cloudy, bloody or foul-odoured urine

  • Irritability

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhoea

  • Loss of appetite and refusing to eat

Treatment And Prevention For UTI In Babies

uti in babies
uti in babies

Image source: iStock

Your baby may be treated for UTI depending on the severity of their symptoms and age. Nationwide Children‘s says treatment may also depend on your baby’s condition and can be cared for through:

  • Antibiotic medicine or other medicines that can reduce pain

  • Heating pad

  • Staying hydrated

UTI needs to treated right away, especially in babies, in order to:

  • Completely get rid of the infection

  • Avoid having the infection spreading outside of the urinary tact

  • Prevent both short and long term damage to your child’s kidneys

Even with such a serious condition, you can still help prevent UTI in your baby and reduce the risks of them getting it by:

  • Frequently changing their diaper

  • Keep them hydrated and drink lots of fluids

  • Ensure that their genitals are always clean

  • Remember to wipe front to back

  • Avoid constipation

When To Call A Doctor

If your child’s symptoms only seem to get worse, do not hesitate to contact a doctor and have your child checked. Especially if your baby is experiencing:

  • An unexplained fever of 38 C

  • Irritability

  • Frequent vomiting

  • Loss of appetite

You doctor may prescribe medicine to ease the pain from the infection and children under three months or are too sick to swallow the medicine may be given a shot of antibiotics. If your child still isn’t feeling better or the symptoms reoccur more than twice within six months, then it is also best to bring them back.

With reports from Erika Coronel.

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