What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

An infection caused by germs or bacteria getting into the urinary tract is called a urinary tract infection or UTI. The urinary tract include the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra, the parts of the body that create or transport urine. The infection becomes more serious when it is located further up into the urinary tract.Both men and women at any age can get a UTI. It becomes more difficult to diagnose in children because they not always exhibit the symptoms.

How to recognize a UTI in Children

It is important to contact our office or your primary care provider is your child displays:

  • A persistent fever of unknown cause
  • Burning or pain when urinating
  • Frequent of urgent urination
  • Strong-smelling, cloudy or bloody urine
  • Abdominal, back or side pain

Young children and babies cannot tell you how they feel. Infants who show irritability, poor feeding, listlessness, fever or below normal temperature may have a UTI. If the kidneys become infected, the child will feel very ill and will usually run a fever. 

UTI treatment

A simple urine test will tell if your child has a UTI. Antibiotics are normally prescribed and the bacteria is quickly killed. More tests may be required to examine the urinary tract if any abnormalities are suspected or if the infection reached the kidneys. 

Prevention of UTI’s in children

You can reduce the risk of an infection reaching the urinary tract by:

  • Frequently changing diapers
  • Wiping front to back after going to the bathroom
  • Wearing cotton underwear
  • Urinating often
  • Avoiding and treating constipation.

Repeating UTI’s

A child who gets a UTI is prone to get additional infections in the future. It is important to tell your doctor if your child has had a UTI in the past. Sometimes there is an underlying problem causing the susceptibility to infection for the child. Additional tests can reveal any serious conditions that require treatment. Or, for less serious causes, behavior modification outlines can direct the parent proper practices to reduce UTI risks.

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