January 20, 2010

Bladder Infection in Kids – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Posted in Category : Child Health

Bladder infection in children is becoming a very common urinary tract problem, affecting kids of all ages. By the age of 5 years, almost 8% of girls & 1% to 2% of boys have experienced a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) at least once.

Your urinary tract comprises of your bladder, kidneys, ureters and the urethra. In most instances, an infection in the urinary tract affects the bladder or the kidneys. Most instances of bladder infection are not serious and clear up quickly, if the right treatment is administered on time. However, infections that are left unchecked and untreated can cause permanent damage to the child. Therefore, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as the signs and symptoms of a bladder infection becomes evident.


Identifying bladder infection in toddlers and infants is a challenge for any parent, because they cannot tell you about the discomfort that they are experiencing. Some of the symptoms that you should look out for are:

  • Bedwetting (in toddlers who are potty trained)
  • Dark and cloudy urine
  • Fever
  • Increase in the frequency of urination
  • Increased irritability and fussiness
  • Loss of appetite or refusal to feed properly
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Strange smelling urine
  • Vomiting

Toddlers and infants suffering from a bladder infection are also likely to experience pain and a burning sensation when they urinate. If your child cries while and after urinating, it may be because of the discomfort caused by an infection. In case the infection lasts for a long period of time, your little one may also begin to show signs of diarrhea.

It is usually easier to identify the presence of bladder infections in older kids, because they can tell you about the symptoms they experience. Your child may be suffering from a bladder infection in case he complains of:

  • Blood in the urine or cloudy urine
  • Burning or pain while passing urine
  • General feeling of malaise
  • Lower backache
  • Nausea, with or without vomiting
  • Pressure in the lower pelvic region
  • Redness in the area around the vagina (in girls)
  • Strong or foul odor in the urine
  • Urgent need to urinate quite often

It is best to consult a doctor as soon as you notice any of these symptoms in your child. Your doctor may need to conduct a few tests and identify the exact causes of the infection, so that the appropriate treatment can be adopted.


On average, there are several germs that live in the large intestines, stools and the genital area, without causing any problems. An infection occurs when these bacteria enter the bladder and start multiplying there. Some of the factors that could make it easy for the bacteria to find their way into the urinary tract include:

  • Wiping from back to front after going to the toilet
  • Urinating less frequently during the day
  • Wearing clothes that are too tight (for girls)
  • Sitting in a bubble bath
  • Birth defects or changes in the urinary tract structure
  • Conditions like vesicoureteral reflux where the urine flows back to the ureters or kidneys

Bladder infections are more common in girls around the age of 2, as this is usually when they first start toilet training. Boys under the age of 1 are also at a higher risk of suffering from a bladder infection if they are not circumcised.


The diagnosis of a bladder infection in toddlers and children requires a urine sample to be checked under a microscope. A wet diaper cannot be used for conducting this test; you may need to look for ways of obtaining a proper urine sample, if your child is not potty trained.

At times, the doctor may also suggest alternate imaging tests like a kidney ultrasound or an x-ray, to determine the exact causes of the infection.


Most doctors prescribe antibiotics in the treatment of bladder infections. Older children are given oral antibiotics whereas younger infants are generally given antibiotics intravenously. Children suffering from any kind of urinary tract infection should also be given a lot of fluids.

In addition to medical treatment, you could also use natural remedies to speed up the recovery process and alleviate the uncomfortable symptoms. Given below are a few effective home remedies for bladder infection in kids:

  • Baking Soda: Stir half a teaspoon of baking soda in a class of water and have your child drink the mixture. This neutralizes acidic urine and reduces the burning sensation while passing urine.
  • Garlic: The antibacterial properties in garlic make it an effective remedy in the treatment of most bacterial infections. Sprinkle some raw garlic or some garlic oil over your child’s food.
  • Cranberry: The consumption of homemade, unsweetened cranberry juice prevents the bacteria from latching on to the walls of the bladder. Give your child half a glass of fresh cranberry juice every day, till the infection is cured.

It is important to check with a doctor before using any of these home remedies. Also make sure that the infection is monitored by a doctor at all times.


  1. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000505.htm