Urinary Tract Infections are usually caused by bacteria, which infect the urinary tract. An infection can occur anywhere along the urinary tract, but the lower part – the urethra and bladder – is most commonly involved. This is called cystitis. If the infection travels up the ureters to the kidneys, it’s called pyelonephritis, which is generally more serious. Although bacteria are not normally found in the urine, they can easily enter the urinary tract from the skin around the anus. Intestinal bacteria E. coli is the most frequent cause of urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections are more common in girls than in boys.
Your child may or may not have clear symptoms. The usual symptoms are:
After taking a history and performing a physical examination, the paediatrician who suspects a UTI will collect a urine sample to confirm the presence of UTI and to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection. The urine sample may be used for a urinalysis (a test that checks the urine for germs or pus) or a urine culture (which attempts to grow and identify bacteria in a laboratory). Knowing what bacteria are causing the infection can help your doctor choose the best medication to treat it.
Urinary tract infections must be treated with antibiotics, which will take 48 to 72 hours to work. The type of antibiotic used and how long it must be taken will depend on the type and severity of bacteria causing the infection. After several days of antibiotics, your child’s pediatrician will repeat the urine tests to check if the infection is gone. An incompletely treated UTI can recur or spread, thus it is very important to complete the full course of antibiotics. Admission to the hospital for injection antibiotics may be necessary if your child is very young (especially if less than three months old), appearing unwell, vomiting/unable to tolerate oral antibiotics, or if your child has known congenital problems of his/her urinary system.
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