Spotlight on UTIs in Children
Dirty Diapers and Rookie Wipers
Urinary tract infections tend to show up in baby boys before the age of one. According to pediatric urologist, Dr. Barry Duel, “The biggest risk factor is being uncircumcised.” He says that an uncircumcised boy has “10 times the risk” of a UTI as a circumcised baby boy because bacteria can more easily become trapped under the foreskin and travel up the urethra. Dr. Duel recommends that parents of uncircumcised boys take extra care to thoroughly clean and dry the penis with every diaper change.
Young girls, on the other hand, are more likely to suffer from a urinary tract infection at around age 3 when they are toilet training or assuming responsibility for cleaning themselves after using the bathroom. When a child doesn’t wipe correctly or thoroughly, bacteria from the rectum can enter the urethra and result in a UTI. Parents can help prevent infections by teaching their daughters to wipe from front to back, as well as supervising young girls even when they insist on “doing it myself!”
Another common cause of UTIs is what’s known as dysfunctional voiding. Dr. Duel explains, “That’s when children don’t empty their bladders completely and bacteria builds up. These children are often also chronically constipated.” Using the potty can be an awkward and scary thing for a toddler, so many kids are reluctant to go and hold it in as long as possible. Dr. Duel recommends that parents make sure that they’re children use the bathroom at least every 4 hours. For serious cases of dysfunctional voiding, pediatric urologists can use biofeedback to train a child to recognize the early signs of a full bladder and visit the potty immediately.
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