Constipation and diarrhea can lead to UTIs.
Constipation often makes it hard for children to empty their bladder all the way, because stool in the colon can block the normal flow of urine. When urine stays in the body for too long, “bad bacteria” can get trapped and have time to grow, which leads to a UTI. You can help promote healthy bowel movements by making sure your child:
- Eats a nutritious, fiber-rich diet. To estimate how many grams of fiber your child should eat daily, take your child’s age and add five.
- Drinks plenty of fluids during the day
- Goes to the bathroom around the same times every day
- Is relaxed when using the bathroom
If your child is constipated, consider placing two stepstools in front of the toilet and having them place one foot on each stool. This can help support the pelvic floor and encourage a bowel movement. Your child’s doctor may recommend stool softeners or laxatives to help ease constipation.
When a child has diarrhea, the risk of getting a UTI can go up, since having diarrhea can make it hard to keep the rectal area nice and clean. This is especially true for girls, since their rectum is only a few inches from the urethra, where urine comes out. Bacteria from the loose stool can travel up the urethra to the bladder and cause infection. If your child has diarrhea, encourage them to eat frequent, small meals of easily digestible foods, such as rice cereal, pasta, breads, cooked beans, mashed potatoes, cooked carrots, applesauce and bananas.