One of the most widespread pathologies in children is urinary tract infection (UTI), which ranks third after digestive infections and respiratory tract infections. The prevalence of urinary tract infections depends on age and sex, but girls are most often affected. Among babies, urinary infections are diagnosed in 6.5% of girls and 3.3% of boys.
UTI is a bacterial infection of the bladder, kidneys, ureters or urethra, i.e. the organs that make up the urinary system. Urinary tract infections can be classified according to location: lower urinary tract infections (cystitis, urethritis, prostatitis) and upper urinary tract infections (pyelonephritis). According to the nature of the evolution, they are classified into complicated and uncomplicated infections.
The symptoms of urinary tract infections are quite vague. These infections lend signs of the respiratory and digestive systems, which is why parents often turn to a nephrologist late. In babies, urinary infections are manifested by an increase in body temperature above 38 °С, reaching 39 °С.
Urinary tract infections can also present other symptoms: irritability, lack of appetite, vomiting, weight loss, reduced growth rate, specific and unpleasant smell of urine, sometimes diarrhea and general poor condition. Older children may complain of pain when urinating, frequent urination, pain in the abdomen and in the lumbar area, specific and unpleasant smell of urine, nocturnal urinary incontinence (enuresis). Sometimes, in children younger than 5 years, urinary infections develop asymptomatically
How is a urinary tract infection diagnosed?
To begin with, the doctor prescribes a urine analysis for the presence of bacteria, the number of leukocytes, characteristic of an inflammatory process, and determines the character of the bacteria. If the doctor assumes a congenital malformation of the urinary system, especially in the case of very young children, a roentgenological examination is indicated. To confirm the vesico-ureteral reflux, a cystourethrography is performed. Ultrasonography, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging are very helpful.
To avoid urinary infections, children must consume sufficient amounts of fluids.
Urine monitoring – children need to urinate every three to four hours, regardless of whether they feel the need to do it or not.
Strict compliance with hygiene rules – diapers must be changed as often as possible. Older children must be taught to wipe themselves correctly: from the front to the back, so as not to infect the urine with microbes from the feces.
Regular urinalysis is recommended in the first year after the first episode of life. If the little one is at risk of recurring urinary infection, timely detection of the disease allows to avoid serious kidney pathologies.
Urinary tract infections are very dangerous, especially in the case of abnormalities in the development of the kidneys. If the urine in the kidney is infected, it can cause various degrees of kidney dysfunction, and this is very dangerous because it can lead to kidney damage.