Urinary Tract Health for Children
In November 2004, my daughter got her first urinary tract infection. I remember it well, because it was the week of her third birthday. She had been potty trained for six months, and while talking to me in the kitchen, she said she had to "go pee" and ran off. Not five minutes later, she ran off again to "go pee." I thought this was strange. I followed her to the bathroom, to make sure she wasn't up to something she shouldn't be. Sure enough, she was sitting on the potty peeing. But I noticed a smell, which was not normal. She did not experience ANY pain. Since I had had a urinary tract infection (UTI) I somewhat dismissed my concerns because I knew I experienced excruciating pain, and I figured I didn't need to worry about her if she wasn't hurting. A few days later, I saw blood in her urine and decided it was time to worry. Sure enough, she had a UTI and was put on an anti-biotic.
Since that first UTI, she has had about 8 confirmed UTIs, and probably more like 20 all together. During that time, I have decided what caused them, how to treat them naturally, and how serious they can become. Believe it or not, there is something you can do that is completely natural to treat and prevent UTIs.
As we experienced, pain does not always accommodate UTIs. Other symptoms include frequent accidents, night time wetting after being potty trained at night, blood in the urine, frequency of urination, and foul smelling urine. If you spend a lot of time with your child, you are able to notice these symptoms more quickly, and can treat the problem before it gets out of hand.
UTIs can be caused by physical deformities in the urinary system, for which my daughter was tested after having a few infections within a short time period. I won't discuss this here, as your doctor can consult you on that. Obviously if you try everything to prevent and treat UTIs at home unsuccessfully, you should take your child to the doctor! My daughter's infections started when she figured out she had the power to hold her urine and continue playing. The sensation to eliminate would go away after a while, and she would hold it for long periods of time. She was also completely dry at night from when she first potty trained, so ultimately, her bladder was almost always full. Once someone starts getting infections, they are more likely to get infections, so our roller coaster began.
It took us years to figure out just how to treat the infections and avoid antibiotics. During that time, we experienced a fever of 106, an antibiotic shot, kidney infections, kidney pain, what we couldn't determine was another infection or influenza, ER visits, and lots of fevers and vomiting. UTIs are nothing to joke around with. But don't be fooled into thinking that antibiotics are the only way to go! Use it as a last resort, but start the battle at home.
The first thing I had to learn was NOT to follow the label on the cranberry supplements we used. The label will give you a dose for maintaining urinary health, not get rid of an infection. If you want to get rid of an active infection, give your child a chewable urinary tablet about every two hours, and give her lots of water throughout the day. She should drink NOTHING but water, and preferably distilled water. The kind we use and suggest here are actually pretty tasty. But most importantly, they are very effective when used appropriately. CranActin Chewables are the only cranberry supplements we have used, and primarily that is because they worked and she liked them. (I recently tried Cranactin Effervescent when I felt a UTI coming on. It tasted pretty good, and I felt better!)
The trick with the cranberry supplements is to keep giving them, even if the symptoms go away. I would keep giving them for three days, one every four hours after you think the infection is gone. Then, follow with twice a day for two weeks, just to make sure her system is returned to health. The worst thing you can do is quit them too early, allow the infection to go on, get worse, and lead to a kidney infection.
Why do you want to avoid antibiotics? That article provides lots of information. Personally, I experienced how it diminishes a child's capacity to fight further infections. When my son was less than two, he was put on an antibiotic for an ear infection. He got better, but within a week began acting weird: quiet, grumpy, just not himself. So I took him back to the doctor to make sure the infection was not getting worse. His ear infection was gone, but he had contracted strep throat. Yes, WHILE on the antibiotic! That was his only ear infection, and only case of strep. I learned a lot about health and how to keep kids healthy. Unfortunately, I couldn't make my daughter pee regularly!
Back to the urinary tract infections, try the cranberry supplements. These also work for adults and can be used the same way. You can get the supplements to swallow if you don't prefer chewables. If you want comprehensive information on urinary tract infections and other treatment protocols, I suggest trying out this download:
P.S. If your child has chronic UTIs like my daughter did, make sure you always have cranberry supplements at home. You never know when it will hit, and if you live in a small town like I did for five years, you won't have easy access to them all hours of the night!