Urinary Tract Infections in Childhood
Factors that may increase your child's chance of a urinary tract infection include:
Abnormalities of the urinary tract, including:
- Vesicoureteral reflux —urine flows backwards from the bladder up into the kidneys
- Urinary obstruction—something is blocking or slowing the flow of urine
- Holding urine for long periods of time
- Not fully emptying the bladder
- Poor hygiene and toilet habits
- Clothing that is too tight, especially if it is not cotton
- Family history of UTIs
- Uncircumcised penis
- Feeling the need to urinate frequently
- Only producing a small amount of urine
- Burning or painful urination
- Foul-smelling urine
- Blood in the urine
- Potty-trained children wetting themselves
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may also ask for a urine sample. Tests may include:
- Urinalysis—a laboratory examination of a urine sample
- Urine culture —to identify the specific bacteria involved
- Complete blood count and other blood tests if your child has a fever
Imaging tests may be ordered if UTIs recur. The test may include ultrasound or specialized scans and x-rays to look for problems in tract structure.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options include:
Antibiotics will help fight the bacteria that is causing the infection. Some severe infections may need to have antibiotics delivered by IV or an injection.
Fluids can help to flush the bacteria out of the system. It will also decrease the concentration of the urine. This may make it more comfortable to urinate.
Pain and Fever Relief
UTIs can be uncomfortable and cause fever. Over-the-counter pain medicine can help.
Note —Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with the doctor before giving your child aspirin.
To help reduce your child's chances of a urinary tract infection:
- Talk to your child's doctor if your child has an abnormality of the urinary system. Your child may need surgery.
- Make sure that girls learn to wipe from front to back.
- Encourage your child to go to the bathroom often—at least several times a day.
- Retract the foreskin of the penis on a regular basis. This will help to keep the area clean.
- If your child has UTIs often, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics. This may help to prevent a new infection.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Edits to original content made by Denver Health.
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