Urinary Tract Infection

A urinary tract infection is terrible for us adults, so it’s good to note that it’s no better for babies. This article will discuss what urinary tract infections are, as well as the symptoms, the treatment and possible prevention methods you may take. 

More About Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infection - Healthier Baby Today

When bacteria enter the urinary tract through the urethra, it gets into the urine and then grows within the bladder. This is how the urinary tract infections happen. Urinary tract infections are quite common in babies and small children. 

When children have abnormalities within the structure of their kidneys or urinary tract, they are more likely to get urinary tract infections. If your child has a urinary tract infection, it does not necessarily mean that they have an abnormality in the urinary tract. 

The Symptoms or Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infection - Healthier Baby Today

The symptoms of urinary tract infections(UTIs) may look like symptoms of many other health issues when present in babies. 

If your baby has a UTI, they may:

  • Have a fever that is unexplained. 
  • Be irritable and cry a lot more than usual. 
  • Lose their appetite
  • Vomit
  • Be unusually drowsy
  • Have poor weight gain
  • Have blood in their nappy

It is important to note that UTIs in older children are significantly different from UTIs in babies and toddlers. If a urinary tract infection is present by your older child, it may sting when they urinate, or they might feel that they need to urinate a lot. 

When to See a Doctor

Urinary Tract Infection - Healthier Baby Today

When your child has a high, unexplained fever or  is generally unwell, a trip to the GP or your hospital’s emergency department is the best course of action. 

How It’s Tested

For doctors to diagnose a urinary tract infection, they will need to test some of your child’s urine. Your doctor might ask you to catch some of your child’s urine in a clear specimen jar. Your doctor may choose to use a catheter or a needle to collect a urine sample. 

There are cases where some children, particularly boys under 3 months old as well as children who are very unwell with a UTI, may need an ultrasound in order to ensure that there are no problems in their urinary tracts. Your child may be referred to a pediatrician, urologist or renal physician if a problem has been identified. 

The Treatment for Urinary Tract Infections

Urinary Tract Infection - Healthier Baby Today

Babies that are under 3 months of age need to have antibiotics directly into a vein through a drip in order to treat a urinary tract infection. This means that they will need to be treated in hospital. Babies that are older than 3 months may be treated at home with oral antibiotics. 

After treatment, your doctor will require another urine sample to ensure that the infection has been cleared up. 

If your doctor is unsure or has any concerns about your child’s urinary tract, they might refer you to a specialist for further advice and treatments.

Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

Preventing urinary tract infections in babies is no easy task. 

The only thing that might help is practicing good nappy hygiene such as:

  • Change nappies as soon as possible after your child has done a poo.
  • Whip from front to back when cleaning.

In a Nutshell

Urinary tract infections in babies may require a doctor’s visit just to help the infection clear up. A hospital stay will be required if your baby is younger than 3 months, but only because the antibiotics will need to be administered through an IV.