Though bladder infections are more common in women, it could sometimes affect children. The following article provides information about the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for this condition.
Bladder infection is a type of urinary tract infection, which occurs when bacteria enter the bladder through the urinary tract. As per the American Urological Association, urinary tract infections affect 3% of children every year. Annually, pediatric UTIs account for over 1 million office visits. Girls are more prone to this infection, due to urethra (a tube that carries the urine out of the bladder), which is shorter in case of girls. As a result, bacteria can easily make their way into the bladder and multiply, thereby causing an infection.
Affected children may show nonspecific signs such as vomiting, fever, decreased appetite, etc., and parents might not be able to identify UTI as the underlying cause. Medical help must be sought as soon as possible. If left untreated, this condition could give rise to other health problems.
The symptoms of this condition mimic the symptoms of other medical conditions. Symptoms like high fever, poor eating, and increased irritability should not be taken lightly, and help of a pediatrician should be sought immediately.
Affected kids may seem unhealthy, feel nauseous, and their urine may smell foul or different from normal. If fever persists for more than a day, without runny nose or cough, then it may indicate a bladder infection.
The symptoms also include a strong and frequent urge to urinate, accompanied by burning sensation while urinating. Although, the urge to urinate may be frequent, the urine passed would be less in amount. Red, pink, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine is also one of the classic symptoms of the infection. Affected girls may experience pain in their pelvic area, while boys may experience pain in rectal area. Kids might also complain of pain under the side of the rib cage. They might also find it difficult to control their urine. This may lead to problems of bed-wetting.
Bacteria that stay around the skin of the rectum and genitals, may make their way into the urethra and travel up the urinary tract, thereby causing the infection. Holding urine for a long period causes bacteria to grow in number and trigger infection. Incomplete emptying of the bladder due to a malfunction in the working of the bladder muscles or constipation could also be contributing factors.
The treatment is decided after analyzing the symptoms and urinalysis results. It usually involves the use of antibiotics. The symptoms disappear within few days of the treatment, however the medication may still be continued to prevent any chances of recurrences.
Cranberry juice is known to be a popular home remedy to reduce the symptoms of this infection. However, blueberry juice, lemon juice, combination of coconut water and citrus juice, and watermelon juice may also prove helpful in some cases.
Aromatherapy using a number of essential oils is also used to ease the symptoms. Intake of baking soda with water or vinegar with water, are among the easily available remedies. Placing a heating pad over the abdominal area is also known to provide relief from the pain.
Consumption of at least 8 – 9 glasses everyday and development of proper sanitation habits in children should be encouraged. Since bacteria grow and thrive in warm and moist conditions, the habit of keeping the anal and vaginal area clean, should be developed in children. The use of loose cotton undergarments is advised. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are very important for prevention of bladder infection and kidney problems.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.