By Dr Jagdish Kathwate
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are very common in children, especially in girls. Here are some useful tips that can help your children keep UTI at bay.
Bacteria that tend to enter the urethra are eliminated through urination. But, when the bacteria aren’t flushed out of the urethra, they grow inside the urinary tract and can lead to an infection. Your child may suffer from a UTI if the bacteria from the skin of the child climbs up the urinary tract. Here, how children wipe after using the washroom can make a lot of difference. Holding pee for a long time can also be the cause. Moreover, one of the most common reasons children suffer from UTIs may be E. coli that tends to originate in the intestines.
This is how you can lower the chances of UTIs:
Ensure that you fully empty the bladder
When children fail to empty their bladder completely by holding up the urine, the body tightens the bladder muscles in the middle of peeing, making them stop early. So, you must see to it that your children double pee and empty the bladder completely.
Proper wiping is essential
Wiping thoroughly is important. Keep the bottom area clean and see to it that your child avoids reusing tissues that are already used or wiping the bottom and the area from where the pee comes out (urethral area). Use good products which are clinically approved.
Use the right clothes
Make sure that your children wear cotton clothes, especially cotton underpants, which allow air circulation. Wearing skinny jeans and tight clothes is a strict no-no. Doing so will not allow for good circulation and can be a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria that cause infection. Further, if the children cannot control when they go to the loo, their undergarments should be changed frequently as the moisture there can lead to the growth of bacteria, which may put the children at the risk of UTIs.
Make your children drink water from time to time. Children should drink water and empty their bladder frequently as the bladder is happiest when it flushes out the toxins. Dark urine may invite burning sensations and make children want to hold it, which is not advisable.
Give up on those bubble baths
Bid adieu to bubble baths. Yes, they can cause UTIs! Those bubble baths full of frothy soap can cause skin irritation in children and around the genital area too. You should give your children regular baths or showers.
See that your kids are not constipated
Along with holding the pee, few children also hold their stools. When the stool is present in the lower part of the colon, the bacteria are near one’s urethra. Thus, it is vital to have regular bowel movement.
(The writer is Consultant, Paediatrics & Neonatology, Motherhood Hospital, Kharadi, Pune.)