Urinary Tract Infections in Childhood
(UTI in Childhood)
by Diana Kohnle
The urinary tract carries urine from the kidneys to the outside of the body. It includes the kidneys, bladder, and tubes that connect them. The tubes from the kidney to bladder are called ureters. The tube from the bladder to the outside of the body is called the urethra. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any of these structures.
Factors that may increase your child's chance of developing a urinary tract infection include:
The doctor will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may also ask for a urine sample. Follow your doctor's directions on collecting your child's urine.
Your child's bodily fluids may need to be tested. This can be done with:
Imaging tests may be ordered if your child is a boy with a UTI or a girl after her second UTI. These infections may be associated with problems in the urinary tract. The test may include ultrasound or specialized scans and x-rays.
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. Your child will most likely be given antibiotic pills or liquid to take by mouth. Finish the medication even if your child is feeling better.
Some severe infections may need to have antibiotics delivered by IV or an injection.
Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. This will 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 may cause fever. Your doctor may recommend some over-the-counter medication for your child. They may include:
Follow the instructions on the package.
Note: Aspirin is not recommended for children or teens with a current or recent viral infection. This is because of the risk of Reye's syndrome. Ask your doctor which other medicines are safe for your child.
Pyridium may also be prescribed. It helps relieve pain associated with UTIs.
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:
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
About Kids Health
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical practice guideline on diagnosis and management of initial UTI in febrile infants and children aged 2 to 24 months. Pediatrics. 2011 Sep;128(3):595.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) prevention. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/u/uti-prevention/ . Updated January 2010. Accessed May 15, 2013.
Urinary tract infection in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated February 12, 2013. Accessed May 15, 2013.
Urinary tract infections—urological overview. The Cleveland Clinic Health Information Center website. Available at: http://my.clevelan... . Accessed May 15, 2013.
12/5/2007 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : 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 http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php : 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 May 2013 by Michael Woods