A urinary tract infection includes the bladder, urethra, and kidneys. Urinary tract infections (UTI) are easily treated, but can cause complications if left alone.

The Urinary Tract

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UTIs can occur in children when bacteria enter the bladder or the kidneys. This can sometimes be caused by:

  • Holding urine for long periods of time
  • Not fully emptying the bladder
  • Females wiping themselves from back to front after a bowel movement

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. The following factors increase your child's chance of developing a urinary tract infection:

  • Abnormalities of the urinary tract, including:
    • Vesicoureteral reflux —a condition in which urine flows backwards from the bladder up into the kidneys
    • Urinary obstruction, in which a blockage reduces or stops urinary flow
  • Poor hygiene and toilet habits
  • Family history of UTIs
  • Uncircumcised state

Closer View of Urinary System

Urinary System
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Symptoms include:

  • Feeling the need to urinate frequently
  • Only producing a small amount of urine
  • Burning or painful urination
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Stomachache
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Potty-trained children wetting themselves


Your doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Tests may include the following:

  • A urinalysis, which is a laboratory examination of a urine sample
  • Urine culture


Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options include:


Treatment with antibiotics will help clear up the infection.

In some cases, severe UTIs are treated with intravenous or intramuscular antibiotics. Researchers have found that oral antibiotics appear to be as effective in treating UTIs as other treatments.


Drink plenty of fluids to flush the bacteria out of the system, and to prevent the urine from becoming too concentrated.

If your child is diagnosed with a UTI, follow your doctor's instructions .


To help reduce your child's chances of developing a urinary tract infection, take the following steps:

  • Talk to your child's doctor about surgery if your child has an abnormality of the urinary system.
  • Make sure that girls learn to wipe from front to back.
  • Encourage your child to go to the bathroom frequently—at least several times a day.
  • If your child has recurrent UTIs, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics to prevent the infection.