To understand how urinary tract infections develop, it is essential to have a comprehensive knowledge of how these organs work in your body. The urinary tract is composed of the kidneys, bladder, ureters and the urethra. The upper urinary tract consists of the kidneys and ureters. The lower urinary tract includes the bladder and urethra. Kidneys act as filters in the body. As they remove the waste and water from the blood, urine is created which travels to the ureters. The bladder holds the urine, and the urine exits the body through the urethra. Sometimes, bacteria from the genital area or rectum can find its way up the urethra causing inflammation and infection. Complications of urinary tract infections can be far-reaching, so prompt treatment is necessary. Not only is there burning with urination causing extreme discomfort, but a kidney infection (pyelonephritis) or cystitis (bladder infection) can develop.
Urinary tract infections in babies and children may be more common than you think and it’s important to know the first signs of uti in babies. About eight percent of girls and two percent of boys have at least one UTI during childhood. Before they reach the age of one, UTIs are more common in boys than in girls.
After the age of one, girls develop more urinary tract infections because their urethra is shorter. That trend continues into adulthood. Women more often develop urinary tract infections than men. Bacteria from the anus can easily travel into the genital area and enter the urethra of a woman. The most common bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections is E. coli (Escherichia coli).
Urinary Tract Infection In Babies – What Causes Urinary Tract Infections in Babies?
There are multiple ways bladder infections can occur at such a young age.
- Abnormality in the urinary tract – There are some babies whose urinary tract is not fully developed or has some abnormality that makes urine flow backward causing the bladder not to empty properly.
- Bacteria – Bladder infections in babies happen when bacteria invade the urethra and reach the bladder. Without immediate treatment, the infection caused by said bacteria can affect the kidneys and other parts of the urinary tract.
- Not changing diapers – Bacteria present in a baby’s urine and stool combined with the warmth of a closed diaper is an excellent medium for bacteria to grow and spread.
- Bubble baths – Bubble baths irritate babies’ genitals and urethras which can lead to bladder infections .
What Are Symptoms Of A Urinary Tract Infection In Babies?
Urinary Tract Infection In Babies – Once the first signs of uti in babies are apparent, parents should seek prompt treatment. It may be more difficult to detect a urinary tract infection in babies as they cannot communicate what they are experiencing . Here are a few symptoms of which parents should remain vigilant:
- Fever – According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) about 5% of infants who have a urinary tract infection only develop an unexplained fever. Unexplained fevers always require a visit to the pediatrician to determine their source.
- Foul-smelling urine – Odd-smelling urine is a common sign of a UTI. Normally, a newborn baby does not have any smell in their urine. so if strong-smelling urine presents when changing a diaper, it could be a sign of a UTI
- Increase in urination – Having to change your baby’s diaper more frequently is also a sign of a possible UTI.
- No appetite – Another symptom of a bladder infection is a poor appetite.
- Cloudy or bloody urine – In infants, it can be difficult to access urine color. Cloudy urine in babies may be hard to distinguish in diapers. However, sometimes UTIs cause red blood cells to leak into the urine, and red-tinged urine is noticeable.
- Fussiness or crying – Burning, the urge to urinate and urge incontinence are symptoms that your baby may be experiencing but is unable to express. Fussiness could be a sign of pain and discomfort. Your baby may cry upon urination because of the burning sensation. Vomiting or diarrhea – Because of the proximity of the gastrointestinal (GI) system to the lower urinary tract, any inflammation or infection in the urinary tract can affect the GI system.
How To Prevent Urinary Tract Infections In Babies
How to prevent urinary tract infections in babies starts in first understanding the why this occurs. The causes of urinary tract infections in babies differ from those of an adult. As we age, urinary problems may become more prevalent. The bladder muscles may fail, and bladder control is lost. Bladder stones, bladder cancer, an overactive bladder or the eventual need for a catheter are frequent causes of urinary tract infections in adults. However, the causes are different for infants, and often, the only sign is an unexplained fever. Therefore, it is important to prevent UTIs from occurring as much as possible.
Wipe from the front to the back. When changing your baby’s diaper, make sure to wipe them from the front to the back to avoid carrying bacteria from the anus to the urethra. Also, let the area air dry before replacing the diaper.
Change diapers regularly. Soiled diapers are breeding grounds for bacteria. Escherichia coli, the common bacteria found in UTIs, can travel up the urethra where it wreaks havoc on the kidneys, bladder and urethra. When your little one has a soiled diaper, replace it as soon as possible. Confirm that the skin is dry prior to applying a new diaper.
Avoid bubble baths or perfumed soaps. Everyone wants their baby to smell nice. However, the use of perfumed soaps or bubble baths irritate the urethra which can lead to an infection. MADE OF Foaming Organic Body Wash has been specially formulated for babies. It is made from 77% organic and 23% of natural ingredients. Because of their transparency policy, parents can see exactly what ingredients it includes.
Drink plenty of fluids. Make sure your baby is drinking enough water as this helps to flush the toxins from their bladder and kidneys. This reduces the risk of UTIs significantly .
How To Treat A Urinary Tract Infection In Babies
Before a treatment is prescribed for babies or young children, doctors often recommend a urine culture to determine if bacteria are present in the urine. It is critical to treat UTIs as infections in the urethra and bladder can lead to pyelonephritis and kidney damage. Recurrent infections can also lead to kidney damage. First signs of uti in babies can be difficult to pinpoint at first.
Obviously, babies cannot give a urine sample on command. The doctor may obtain a urinalysis by drawing a sample via a catheter. It may take a day or so to get the result of a urine culture. Until then, attempt to alleviate any discomfort that your baby is feeling.
When a UTI has been diagnosed by a doctor, a baby will be given oral antibiotics to combat the infection . Aside from antibiotics, there are other remedies including the following:
- Pain or inflammation relievers – If your child has a fever, your doctor may prescribe medications such as ibuprofen or Acetaminophen. This type of medication also helps with inflammation. Never supply your infant any medication unless it is prescribed by your doctor.
Probiotics – Breastfeeding mothers can improve their baby’s flora of bacteria by eating yogurt and taking probiotics, in turn passing the “good” flora via their breast milk. This can boost both the mother’s and the baby’s immune system.
- More fluids – Aside from antibiotics prescribed by the doctor, encourage your baby to drink more fluids. By increasing their fluid intake, their body can flush the bacteria and speed up the healing process considerably.
- Use heat – If your baby is fussy, they may be feeling pain in the lower abdomen. Put a warm compress on the affected area Make sure your compress is a clean, soft cloth as their skin is quite sensitive.
- Avoid bladder irritants – It is important to be proactive in avoiding urinary tract infections. The more a child is given antibiotics throughout their life, the greater the chance they will develop antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Avoid anything acidic – Acidic foods and fluids can increase urine acidity. Bathe your baby regularly with warm water and organic soap. MADE OF Foaming Organic Baby Shampoo & Body Wash is healthy for your baby and for the environment. It is EWG verified, vegan and made of only natural ingredients that will not put your baby at risk of developing urinary tract infections.
- Use only quality diapers – Diapers should provide excellent absorption and be gentle to the skin. MADE OF Diapers are made of only natural and organic materials that are dermatologist tested.
Urinary Tract Infection In Babies Resources:
 US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; The bladder is not sterile: History and current discoveries on the urinary microbiome, Thomas-White K, Brady M, Wolfe AJ, Mueller ER, January 30, 2016.
 US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health; Urinary tract infections in infants and children: Diagnosis and management, Joan L Robinson, Jane C Finlay, Mia Eileen Lang, Robert Bortolussi, and Canadian Paediatric Society, Infectious Diseases and Immunization Committee, Community Paediatrics Committee, June 2014.
 WebMD; If Your Child Gets a UTI, Amita Shroff, MD, January 30, 2017.
 Merck Manual; Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Children, Geoffrey A. Weinberg, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry; Director, Clinical Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Pediatric HIV Program, Golisano Children’s Hospital, January 2018.
 U.S. Pharmacist; Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections in Children, Sean Nguyen, PharmD, BCPS, Jordan Whitehill, PharmD, BCPS, March 18, 2018.