Urinary Tract Infections in Children - What Happens
urinary tract infection (UTI), bacteria usually enter
the urinary tract through the
urethra. They may then travel up the urinary tract and
infect the bladder (cystitis) and the kidneys (pyelonephritis). Most UTIs in children clear up
quickly with proper
The biggest concern
over UTIs in children is that they can cause permanent kidney damage and
scarring. Repeated scarring can lead to
high blood pressure and reduced kidney function,
kidney failure. Infants and young children seem to be
at higher risk for this complication.
The risk of irreversible
kidney damage makes early medical evaluation and treatment of UTIs in infants
and young children very important. Unfortunately, detecting UTIs in infants and
young children can be difficult. Unlike symptoms in older children and adults,
symptoms in the very young can be vague and inconsistent.
short-term complications of UTIs are unusual but do occur. They include an
abscess in the urinary tract, acute kidney failure,
and widespread infection (sepsis), which can be life-threatening.
These complications are more likely in
premature infants and newborns and in infants with
urinary tract obstructions.
Infants and young children often
get another UTI during the months after their first UTI. If an infection
comes back (recurs), it usually happens within the same year as the first UTI.
Recurrent UTIs in a child can mean that there is a problem with
the structure or function of the urinary tract. Because repeated infections
increase the risk of permanent kidney damage, your child's doctor will evaluate
and monitor any structural or functional problems. In some cases, your child
may need surgery.