Paediatric urological conditions involve a wide range of conditions that affect the normal functioning of urinary and genital tracts. These can be congenital i.e. present at the time of birth or acquired during childhood. In case of even slightest hint of paediatric urological conditions in children or infants, it is advisable to get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Here are signs that may indicate urological conditions:
- Renal anomalies in baby diagnosed during pregnancy
- Pain when urinating
- Weak stream of urine and inability to completely empty the bladder
- Frequent urge to pass urine
- Presence of pus or blood in urine
- Bed wetting
- Urine incontinence
- Swelling or pain in testicles in boys
- Pain in abdomen, lower back or groin
Following are the common urological conditions found among children and infants:
- Antenatal hydronephrosis is diagnosed during prenatal sonogram/ultrasound. The kidneys of the unborn baby are filled with a fluid which makes them enlarged causing structural abnormality. In some babies, the condition resolves itself during the course of pregnancy and in some others it may settle after birth. However, if the diagnosis has been made then it is important that the condition is monitored regularly.
- Umbilical Hernia may occur in infants less than six months. In this, you’ll notice a bulge near the bellybutton/navel of the baby. This happens because the intestines protrude through a weakened abdominal wall around this area. This will be very visible when the baby is crying. Usually, in most cases, by the time the baby is 1 year old, the bulge goes away on its own. If it doesn’t surgery may be recommended.
- Hydrocele –Under the normal circumstances, the tube through which the testes descend into the scrotum gets closed. In few cases, this tube may not close and stay open resulting in the fluid from abdomen to enter into scrotum. This results in swelling which is painful and discomforting. If you see redness or swelling in the scrotum or the child complains of pain in the sac area under penis, then it may be Hydrocele. Check with your doctor.
- Hydronephrosis – Due to an obstruction in the urinary tract, urine does not drain out of the kidneys and stay there. This may occur in one or both kidneys. Accumulation of urine leads to swelling of the kidneys which could be a dangerous situation. The waste in urine may cause infection in kidneys. Antibiotics are given to prevent infection and surgery may be performed to remove obstruction.
- Hypospadias is a birth defect in which the urethral opening is not on the tip of penis but under it. In small boys if you observe abnormal penile curvature, difficulty in directing the stream of urine or curved erections, these may be signal of hypospadias.
- Dysuria is characterized by pain, burning and discomforting sensation when passing urine. This is caused by urinary tract infection, injury or any neurologic condition.
- Pyuria is the presence of pus in urine. It is a very dangerous condition and should be immediately brought to the notice of a paediatric urologist.
- Bedwetting or Nocturnal enuresis affects almost 10-15% of young children. Though nothing alarming, it only leads to psychological problems such as low self-esteem or the child may be reluctant to stay over at a friend’s or relative’s place. It occurs because bladder has not developed fully to hold higher volumes of the urine. Behavioural modifications, adjustments in lifestyle such as reducing fluid intake in evening, and medication therapy can be given to overcome the challenging situation.
- Undescended testes occur when in unborn infants one or both testes do not descend into scrotum from abdominal cavity. For most cases, testes take their normal position within the first year of their birth and if doesn’t then medical intervention is needed.
- Ureteropelvic junction obstruction is the blockage of the junction where ureteral tubes meet the kidneys. This is the passage for the flow of urine from kidneys to ureters, bladder and then out. When the passage is blocked, urine is unable to flow out of the body. If the urine remains in kidneys for long period of time, it may cause infection and damage which can be dangerous.
Such urological conditions in infants, toddlers and young children may cause lot of anxiety and worry to parents. Therefore it is important that you consult a paediatric urologist to discuss the symptoms, reach correct diagnosis, get best treatment, proper care and management.