Urinary Tract Infections in Childhood
(UTI in Childhood)
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
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
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
- Feeling the need to urinate frequently
- Only producing a small amount of urine
- Burning or painful urination
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.
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
About Kids Health
Ahmed S, Swedlund S. Evaluation and treatment of urinary tract infections in children. Am Fam Physician . 1998;57:7.
Evidence-based care guideline for medical management of first UTI in children < 12 years old. National Guideline Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://www.guideline.gov/summary/summary.aspx?doc_id=10163&nbr=005348&string=UTI . Accessed June 11, 2008.
Hellerstein S. Urinary tract infections in children: why they occur and how to prevent them. Am Fam Physician . 1998;57:10. American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at: http://www.aafp.org/afp/980515ap/heller.html . Accessed April 18, 2007.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) in children. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/ . Accessed April 18, 2007.
Urinary tract infections in children. The Cleveland Clinic Health Information Center website. Available at: http://www.clevelandclinic.org/health/health-info/docs/0800/0867.asp?index=5472. Accessed April 18, 2007.
12/5/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Pohl A. Modes of administration of antibiotics for symptomatic severe urinary tract infections [review]. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2007(4). DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003237.
11/6/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance : Craig JC, Simpson JM, Williams GJ, et al. Antibiotic prophylaxis and recurrent urinary tract infection in children. N Engl J Med. 2009;361(18):1748-1759.
Last reviewed September 2009 by
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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