Urologic conditions are medical issues affecting the urinary tract, comprising the kidneys, bladders, ureters, and urethra. As to males, it also deals with their reproductive organs, including the penis, scrotum, prostate, and testes. Although this is found to be more common among adults, there is still a high chance of children suffering from these conditions.
If this happens to your child, pediatric urologists from Idaho Falls Community Hospital, among others, are best in treating urologic conditions among children. They can treat urologic conditions that develop from birth or infancy, early childhood, and even as a young adolescent.
However, you can only bring your child to a pediatric urologist when you know they are suffering from urologic conditions in the first place. This means you have to be aware of the most common urologic conditions that your child might be suffering from. Fret not because this article will be discussing the major and most common urologic conditions among children.
When a child has hypospadias, the meatus or urethral opening is not found at the tip of the penis but on the bottom of the urethra, located on the penis’ ventral side. This happens when the urethral folds on the penile urethra don’t close and meet up adequately. As an effect, an opening is formed along the penile shaft’s bottom.
Minor hypospadias generally doesn’t require surgery. When one is needed, however, this is done to reposition the urethral opening and straighten the penis shaft. Surgery is done early in the child’s life, usually within the first six to twelve months of birth.
Dysuria is a painful or burning sensation in the urethra when urinating. Inflammation usually causes dysuria in children in the bladder, or the pain can also be due to an infection or irritation in the urethra. Generally, this can be a symptom of a urinary tract infection or other urinary problems.
In most cases, dysuria can be treated at home. You can help your child by applying the following remedies:
- Giving your child extra fluids for the next day or two
- Avoiding lotions and bubble baths for the time being
- Avoiding fizzy drinks
- Teaching your daughter to wipe from the front to the back after going to the toilet.
If the home remedies you apply doesn’t seem to improve how your child feels, this is a sign for you to call your doctor as soon as possible.
Other signs that you have to call your doctor straight away include the following:
- Your child develops a fever;
- There is blood in the urine;
- Your child has a more frequent need to urinate without passing much urine.
After a consultation and medical examination by your pediatric urologist, you should expect improvements in your child’s condition.
Hydronephrosis is quite a common condition affecting about 1 in 100 children. It happens when urine overfills or backs up into the kidney, causing swelling in it. Hydronephrosis in infants is usually diagnosed before or after birth.
For those who are diagnosed before birth, hydronephrosis usually disappears after birth. Those with mild or moderate hydronephrosis can also expect the condition to resolve independently without affecting kidney function. Early diagnosis and treatment of the reflux or blockage can prevent this condition from worsening.
Upon the baby’s birth, healthcare professionals use urinary tract imaging to diagnose and find the cause of hydronephrosis. These imaging tests include:
- Radionuclide scan, where images of the urinary tract are taken as a radioactive substance passes through it.
- Ultrasound, wherein sound waves are used to view the child’s urinary tract.
Once the results come out, your child’s pediatric urologist can choose the appropriate treatment.
Hydroceles are a condition due to swelling around the testicle. This swelling occurs when fluid around the scrotum exists and can occur on just one or both sides. While hydroceles can occur at any age in childhood, it tends to be more common in premature infants.
Symptoms of hydroceles can be different in each child, but prevalent ones are:
- The child’s scrotum gets smaller at night when laying flat and extends while engaging in physical activity;
- There’s a lump in your child’s testicle and scrotum area that’s smooth but not painful.
Because hydrocele symptoms can also indicate other urological problems, seeing your doctor is critical to getting the proper diagnosis.
Nocturnal enuresis is one of the most challenging pediatric urologic conditions to diagnose, as it’s commonly mistaken for common bedwetting. Even a potty-trained child can still have accidents at night until they’re six years old. Parents should start getting concerned about their child’s bedwetting habits if they are still frequent even beyond preschool age.
Seeing a doctor is crucial as nocturnal enuresis can also be an underlying sign of a psychological problem. For example, this is associated with nighttime tremors or fear of the dark in some children. So, it’s essential to have those addressed as well.
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Bacteria are unbiased, which means even young children aren’t safe from them. Girls are primarily affected among children, but boys aren’t spared. Because it is a bacterial infection, visiting the doctor is necessary for adequately prescribing antibiotics. This is the first line of defense or treatment when UTI is confirmed.
UTIs happen when bacteria go through the urethra and aren’t flushed out even during urination. This is characterized by symptoms like a more frequent need to urinate and cloudy or foul-smelling urine.
Hematuria is the medical term used to refer to the presence of blood in the urine, usually coming from the kidney or in any other part of the urinary tract. It can be horrifying for parents to see blood in their child’s urine, but the good news is this isn’t alarming in most cases.
To determine the underlying cause of hematuria, your doctor may order tests like:
- Urine dipstick, which is usually done in the doctor’s clinic. However, because the results aren’t always accurate, the presence of red blood cells in the urine has to be re-checked through a more thorough blood exam.
- Urine protein, to distinguish hematuria caused by the kidney itself or from the urinary tract’s piping.
- Renal and bladder ultrasound. This is done to look for cysts, tumors, and kidney stones, among other causes of hematuria.
- Kidney biopsy is performed in more severe cases when your doctor thinks there could be damage to the kidneys’ filters.
- Urine culture, to test for urinary tract infection.
Treatment usually determines the cause of hematuria, which follows only after a thorough study of the results from the test mentioned above.
Aside from the ones mentioned above, there are many other urologic conditions in children, but the ones above are some common complaints. Moreover, do note that, at its best, the information above is meant only to educate readers about urologic conditions in children. This isn’t, in any way, meant to make you self-diagnose any potential problem a child may be going through. Always consult a pediatric urologist for a proper medical examination so that the right treatment can also be given if needed.
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