Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) In Children

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

What is UTI?

UTI stands for Urinary Tract Infection and most of us are not aware that it can happen to kids. They happen when bacteria get into the kidney or bladder. Urinary infections in children usually go away quickly if they get medical assistance right away. But if your child keeps getting infections, your doctor may suggest tests, to rule out more serious problems. Urinary infections can lead to a serious infection throughout the body called sepsis. Problems from a urinary infection are more likely to happen in babies born too soon, in newborns, and in infants who have something blocking the flow of urine.


Most UTIs happen in the lower part of the urinary tract — the urethra and bladder pain, burning, or a stinging sensation when peeing:

  • An increased urge or more frequent need to pee (though only a very small amount of pee may be passed)
  • Fever
  • Waking up at night a lot to go to the bathroom
  • Belly pain in the area of the bladder (generally below the belly button)
  • Foul-smelling pee that may look cloudy or contain blood

It is the kind of infection that travels up the ureters to the kidneys and is called pyelonephritis and it is usually more serious. It causes many of these same symptoms, but the child often looks sicker and is more likely to have a fever (sometimes with shaking chills), pain in the side or back, severe tiredness, or vomiting.

How are the infections diagnosed?

The doctor will give your child a physical exam and ask about his or her symptoms. Your child also will have lab tests, such as a urinalysis and a urine culture, to check for germs in the urine. It takes 1 to 2 days to get the results of a urine culture; so many doctors will prescribe medicine to fight the infection without waiting for the results. This is because a child's symptoms and the urinalysis may be enough to show an infection.

After your child gets better, the doctor may have him or her tested to find out if there is a problem with the urinary tract. For example, urine might flow backward from the bladder into the kidneys. Problems like this can make a child more likely to get an infection in the bladder or kidneys.

Few things to minimize your child’s risk of Infection:

  • Be sure your child gets plenty of fluids. Drinking more also makes your child urinate more frequently, flushing out the urinary tract. (Every three hours or so during the day is a good goal.)
  • Remind your child to empty her bladder completely each time she goes rather than hopping off the toilet before she's done.
  • Offer your child plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which also help prevent constipation.
  • If your child is a girl, avoid harsh soaps and bubble baths, which can irritate her genitals. And wipe from front to back – and teach her to do this – to minimize the bacteria in the area.
  • Wear cotton underpants and avoid very tight-fitting jeans and other pants.
  • Avoid bubble baths, perfumed soaps, and other substances that can irritate the genitals and urethra.
  • After swimming, change into dry clothes instead of sitting around in a wetsuit.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that can cause bladder irritation. Common offenders include colas and other caffeinated drinks, chocolate, and some spices.