Urinary Tract Infections in Children

Infant and Children | August 24, 2017 | Author: Naturopath

Children, infants

Urinary Tract Infections in Children

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection anywhere in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes any organs that collect, store or pass urine including the bladder, urethra (the tube from which urine passes out of the bladder), and kidneys.

A UTI is caused by bacteria that gains access to the bladder by travelling up through the urethra. The germs most often come from the gut or from faeces which may be on the skin and somehow migrate into the urethra. This can happen often with babies because they are in nappies or with young children, especially females, because they may wipe themselves incorrectly.

Factors Contributing to Urinary Tract Infections

UTI's in childrenDuring the first few months of life, uncircumcised male infants are at increased risk for UTIs, but thereafter UTIs predominate in females. This is due to the proximity of anus to the vagina and the increased risk for contamination if correct hygiene is not followed.

Another risk factor for UTIs in girls is antibiotic therapy. This disrupts the normal peri urethral flora and allows the growth of bacteria. Unfortunately the first line of medical treatment for a UTI is antibiotic therapy which can further destroy the gut flora in a child whom perhaps already has gut flora issues and in turn, create a vicious cycle of chronic UTI recurrence. 

Signs and symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection

  • Pain upon urination.
  • The feeling of needing to go to the toilet a lot to urinate
  • Passing urine before getting to the toilet (incontinence or wetting)
  • Pain in the lower part of the stomach
  • Unpleasant urine odour and cloudy urine
  • Fever

Treatment

Although antibiotics are used as the first line of treatment for UTIs, urinary tract infections can be quickly and easily treated with herbs and supplements without any unwanted side effects. Some herbs have a urinary antiseptic and anti-adhesion effect and therefore make them incredibly useful in treating children with UTI’s. The most common herb that has been researched and trialled in children is cranberry. Ayurvedic herbs and Chinese herbs have also been studied and results show some very positive outcomes in children with acute UTI’s.

Cranberry

Cranberry is one of the best herbal remedies for UTI’s. Quality cranberry juice products and supplements produce hippuric acid in the urine, which acidifies the urine and inhibits bacterial growth. Other components in cranberries help to prevent bacteria from adhering to the lining of the bladder. It is for this latter reason the cranberry is very good to use long-term for prevention if a child is prove to recurring UTI’s.cranberries

Cranberry juice should be pure and unsweetened. Concentrated cranberry capsules can also be used and need to be taken with lots of water. Avoid commercially made cranberry juices as they contain high fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners which have the potential to feed bacteria and the UTI will take longer to resolve.

Research suggests that use of cranberry in favour of antibiotic use often has much better compliance in children and is without side effects.

Olive leaf

Olive leaf is another herb that can be used in children with UTI’s. Traditionally it has been used to enhance the functioning of the immune system and aid in the management of infections, especially when fever is present. Olive leaf can interfere with the ability of bacteria to replicate and cause infection.
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The primary treatment for cystitis is to increase urine flow to aid the expulsion of bacteria and this can be achieved simply by increasing water intake.

Garlic

garlicGarlic is invaluable for UTI’s as it works on removing bacteria. Moreover, the immune system will be improved remarkably and able to fight the infection more effectively.  Garlic can simply be added to daily meals for children.

Acidophilus

Acidophilus should be given to re-establish and balance gut flora. Imbalances in gastro intestinal tract bacterial flora will also be reflected in vaginal bacterial flora and will encourage bacterial infection in the gut, vagina and urinary bladder. It is therefore essential to address the gut flora in an acute case of a UTI but it is essential to establish and maintain the growth of the lactobacillus strain in order to prevent recurrence of UTI’s. Supplements can be given in an acute UTI case and should be given at every meal, especially if antibiotic therapy has begun.
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Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a natural and powerful antioxidant and immune builder. It helps to keep the bladder healthy and working correctly. In acute cases it has a local antibacterial effect and high doses can be used safely in children at the onset of a UTI, throughout the infection and then at a reduced dosage for two weeks or so after the infection has cleared.  Current research shows just how well vitamin C worked to manage as well as prevent UTI’s. 
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D-Mannose is a monosaccharide, a simple sugar but unlike glucose the body absorbs d-Mannose eight times slower. It passes straight to the blood stream, then through the kidneys into the bladder where it works by inhibiting the adhesion of bacteria to the epithelial cells in the urethra. It is equally as important for acute UTI’s as it is for the prevention of recurring UTI’s. Research currently suggests that d-mannose is not only effective against E.coli bacteria that accounts for 90% of all urinary tract infections, but its potency and effectives is comparable to conventional antibiotics, minus the side effects. D-Mannose is found in cranberries and blueberries, peaches, apples, and oranges. 

Prevention

  • Improve immune system health with herbs and supplements as well as a good diet.
  • Low yeast, low sugar, high fibre diet
  • Stay on a probiotic long-term
  • Follow an alkalising diet (low in animal protein, sugars and grains).
  • Teach females correct toilet hygiene.
  • Encourage children to use the bathroom frequently, emptying the bladder every three or four hours and before bedtime.

Eat plenty of blueberries and pineapple. blueberries are a fantastic natural remedy for UTI’s. They contain the same bacteria-inhibiting properties as cranberries (they’re from the same family). Pineapples contain the enzyme bromelain, which has also been found to be an effective natural cure for UTI. Both are rich in vitamin C.

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2964762/

.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684288/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3746634/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3370320/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4283390/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3002804/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12870202

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3063462/

Osiecki, H. (2004). The Nutrient Bible. 6th ed. BioConcepts Publishing, 18-26.

Hoffmann, D. (2003). Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies. London: Element Books, 64-108.

Osiecki, H. (2001). The Physician’s Handbook of Clinical Nutrition. 6th ed. Queensland: BioConcepts Publishing, 302-305.

Balch JF, Balch PA. (2000). Prescription for Nutritional Healing. 3rd Ed. New York: Penguin Putnam Inc.

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