Q: My toddler has a bladder infection for which she is taking antibiotics. How can I help her avoid these infections in the future?
Since your toddler is on antibiotics, let’s focus on rebuilding her gut flora and her immune system to help prevent future urinary tract infections (UTIs), reducing the chances of a recurring bladder infection.
These suggestions are intended to be used in conjunction with conventional medical treatment. If your child develops a fever with a bladder infection, this is a sign that the infection may have affected the kidneys, and you should seek medical attention for your child.
1) Firstly, I suggest probiotics taken two to three times per week. Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum are the most common strains and the most important for children. I would find a good-quality, multi-strain probiotic supplement, that also contains Bifidobacterium longum and Bifido bacterium infantis if possible. These strains protect against harmful bacteria, yeast and parasites. They also help maintain digestive and immune health. If there is only one suggestion you can add to your child’s routine, this would be it (in order to recultivate her gut flora after the antibiotics)!
2) Secondly, I suggest natural supplements and/or herbs to support the immune system:
A good- quality multi-vitamin/mineral formula containing the antioxidant vitamins A, C, D, E, and zinc would be a good start. You can purchase liquid supplements and chewables for children at the health food store.
Cod Liver Oil (CLO) is also recommended as it contains the healthy fats EPA and DHA, as well as vitamins A and D for healthy immune function. Fermented CLO is best, if your child will take it. Alternatively, you can use good quality fish oils. There are many flavoured fish oils on the market that children will take, or which can be added to juice or smoothies.
Depending on the dose of Vitamin C in your multi-vitamin, you may want to supplement with additional Vitamin C, especially during periods of infection. Children can take 250-500mg of Vitamin C, up to three times/day. I suggest a whole foods supplement such as one made with Acerola or Elderberry.
Echinacea, goldenseal, oil of oregano OR licorice can all be found in tincture form, and given at the dosage appropriate for your child’s age. The tincture can be diluted with a small amount of juice or water, or mixed with applesauce or yogurt. These are all anti-microbial and immune-supportive. I like to keep at least one of these in the house during the winter months, to be given to my children at the first sign of infection. My kids prefer Echinacea as it is the mildest, whereas Goldenseal and Oil of Oregano are quite strong tasting.
3) You might be wondering what foods can be eaten to reduce the occurrence of bladder infections and support the immune system. First of all, plenty of water! Unsweetened cranberry juice is a natural urinary antiseptic, that works by acidifying the urine and preventing bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall. Natural diuretics such as asparagus, watermelon and parsley would also be helpful, as would the use of antimicrobial garlic and onions in food preparation. Fermented foods, such as kefir, yogurt (if your child is not dairy-free), and kombucha are often enjoyed by children, and are immune supportive. I also recommend avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates, and alkalizing the child’s diet with greens, and raw vegetables fruit to support the immune function.
4) It would be worth exploring what might be causing your child’s bladder infections. For instance, is your toddler toilet-training right now, and perhaps holding his/her urination? Is there any new stress or changes in your child’s routine that might be inhibiting regular urination? Previous use of antibiotics may also contribute to bladder infections, and should always be followed by probiotics and fermented foods.
Colloidal silver can be an effective antimicrobial for UTIs, and might be worth a try if your child develops another UTI. It is a liquid taken orally, with the dose for her age. Note that silver is not something to be taken preventatively as it kills all bacteria (including healthy gut flora), and the correct dosage must be followed. If the infections become recurrent, you may want to explore the possibility of food sensitivities irritating the bladder and contributing to bladder infections.
I am happy to answer any questions about bladder infections specifically, or supporting children’s immune function in general….especially important at this time of year when children may be returning to school! Simply send me a message here, and I will be sure to get back to you personally!
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