M.S. asks from Spencer, WI on February 18, 2009
4 Year Old with UTI
My 4-year old daughter started a bad habit last fall of waiting until the last possible minute to go to the bathroom. She would wait so long that she could barely get to the bathroom on her own, and/or she would have an accident in her pants. I was afraid of her getting a UTI, and even warned her of what could happen if she kept holding her pee like that. Well, it happened. In December, she ended up with a full blown urinary tract infection, which spread to her kidneys and she was hospitalized for several days. She was in so much pain it was painful for ME to watch her! I thought she was improving, and finally "getting it" that she needed to go to the bathroom pronto. But she has fallen back into the habit again, and has developed another UTI. I am so scared that this is going to spread to her kidneys again. She had a bladder scan in January, and anatomically she is fine. I think this is a behavior issue. However, I don't know what to do to fix this situation. I am not sure the REASON she is holding her pee. We have tried talking to her about it, but to no avail. Is there anything I can do to PREVENT this from happening, rather than continue to treat the problem with antibiotics after the fact? I've heard cranberry juice works for UTI's, but I tried that and she doesn't like the taste of it. What can I do to make her understand that she shouldn't be waiting so long? How can I find out the REAL reason she is holding her pee? Is she holding it because she already has an infection and it hurts to go, or is she holding it and developing the infection (which came first, the chicken or the egg?)I would welcome any advice on what I can do in this situation.
K.C. answers from Janesville-Beloit on February 19, 2009
With regard to the cranberry juice, have you tried different brands? I do not like cranberry juice either but I have found the Langers brand of cranberry grape juice at least tolerable. I have also heard that grape juice can help, though not as good as cranberry juice. Maybe try some other blends instead of straight cranberry juice. I have also heard that the white cranberry juice is not as bitter as the red cranberry, though I don't care for the white cranberry either. Good luck!
K.A. answers from Grand Forks on February 19, 2009
Make her go to the bathroom!!Set a timer if you must, but make sure she goes into the bathroom and pees, every hour or 2 or whatever would be her norm. After a while she should get the idea and start going on her own. You are the mom and whatever it takes to keep her healthy....also, if you could put a thermos or jug of water out at her reach so she can get drinks frequently on her own. We have a 1st grader in our school age class that has the same problem. We give her frequent reminders to go to the bathroom and a jug of water out for drinks. It seems to help her when she is here--and mom is very greatful!!
S.B. answers from Minneapolis on February 19, 2009
My daughter had repeat uti's and you should ask your peditrician about possibly testing for bilateral reflux. Sometimes they can grow out of it but in my daughter's case she ended up having surgery in the 1st grade to correct the problem. Please email me if you have further questions...
R.K. answers from Appleton on February 19, 2009
I don't know what to tell you as far as her holding it; I hope this is just a phase. However blueberries and cherries work also to protect against UTI's. Try adding either blueberries or cherries to her cereal in the morning, or see if she will drink the juice. Maybe you can get some juice that has a combination of cranberry and another fruit or she will like the blueberries or cheries.
Also chamomile tea is excellent for riding the body of toxin's. This works for colds, flu and any kind of infection. If she doesn't like the flavor of chamomile try using one tea bag of chamomile and one of mint.
J.S. answers from Minneapolis on February 19, 2009
My 2 1/2 daughter is on her second UTI in six months. And I too as a young child and adult have had a lot of them. I would say your daughter is getting the infection first and that is why she is holding. It can be very painful to pee. Also, the symptoms can be very subtle and often you don't know till you are at the painful point. We didn't even know our daughter had one this time except her pee smelt very strong. And last time it took till she was in pain while peeing and a little blood came out. When I was your daughters age they ran a bunch of tests and determined I was not wiping good enough. Maybe show her how to wipe front to back and to make sure she does it well? And they do make a cran-rasberry juice at target. It tastes better that just cranberry and is still good for UTI's. Also don't let her take bathes with soap or bubble bath in it. But I'm sure you know all of that already. Hope this helped some. And make sure she gets probiotics while on the meds so she doesn't get a yest infection next. :)
J.S. answers from Milwaukee on February 19, 2009
I might suggest cranberry extract??? I take it as pill form so I do not have to drink the juice. I personally like the juice but I consume a lot of fluids already. Might try watering it down too? Or try mixing it with apple or white grap juice to sweeten it up a little? Hope this helps.
K.S. answers from Minneapolis on February 19, 2009
I have gotten UTI's chronically since infancy. It has become a life long habit for me to monitor everything carefully so I can avoid them. This can be too much for a 4 year old, so you may have to play Bladder Police for a while. One way to force the situation is to keeping pumping her full of water (BTW -- Have her strictly avoid sodas and sugary juices...They just provide food for bacteria). If she is always very hydrated she won't be able to hold it for as long. And, even if she does, watery pee is less risky than concentrated pee.
As to cranberry - It is a kidney healthy bevvie but not so much in its cocktail form. I get organic concentrate (Cub Foods - Knutsen's brand). I add a splash to a big glass water and serve over lots of ice. Might be a bit tart for a little one, so try adding a dash of lemonade?
What else? Hmmm...Cotton undies at all time obviously. And as Oprah once said, no undies while wearing PJs. Avoid bubble bath and perfumed or dyed soaps or TP. Try a chemical-free laundry detergent. Make sure she is wiping front-to-back at all times. No caffeine. Make sure she is emptying her bladder completely. Teach her to wait a minute after she thinks she is done and them try to go "just one more drop"...This helps with reflux problems.
R.D. answers from Des Moines on February 19, 2009
Consider getting her a watch with a timer that automatically resets at a predetermined interval so she has a reminder to go every hour or two. Maybe let her get a cool water bottle to carry with her to make sure she's getting enough water (or juice) to drink. That will help her need to go more often and make it easier/hurt less if she does have a UTI. You could also give her some children's advil if she's in pain.
Here's a link to the kind of watch http://pottytrainingsolutions.com/product_info.php?produc...
This one is kind of pricey, but you might be able to shop around for something else.
A.F. answers from St. Cloud on February 19, 2009
Hi M.! I have no experience with UTI's but my neice had a similar problem with an enlarged bowel from holding in her bowel movements. She would wait to go until it was painful and as a result of the pain she would be afraid to go potty. Horrible cycle, isn't it? Poor little things don't really see the reasoning behind it.
Anyway, they HAVE too pee and poop eventually so I would push water like crazy. The only thing to help them get over it, IMO, is to have several pain free trips to the potty. Push the water! If she doesn't like water, you could flavor it with Celestial Seasonings to go packs. You can get them at Wal-Mart for less than 2 dollars. Do NOT use Crystal Light or anything with artificial flavoring in it. It will make the problem worse. And I would forget about cranberry juice all together and get a GOOD probiotic. It will prevent another infection.
Go to www.vitacost.com and type in "kids probiotic". If it's a powder you can mix it with yogurt but they do make chewables that are pretty good.
It's heartbreaking to see our little ones suffer so. Ask a Dr. if there is anything you could do for the psychological side of things, like helping her see that she would feel better if she did not hold it in. Otherwise, time may be the only cure.
Good job mom!