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Urinary tract infection in children

Urine infections are relatively common during childhood. In younger children they are difficult to diagnose since the symptoms can go unnoticed or confuse them with another problem, for example, bedwetting, we tell you more about them in What is bedwetting? The symptoms that older children have are similar to those that an adult may have.

Urinary tract infection occurs due to the existence of pathogenic germs in the urine due to infection of the urethra, bladder, kidney or prostate.

UTIs are common in children of all ages, but they are especially common in children who still wear diapers.

In children, especially very young children, urinary tract infections are usually more severe than in adults. In young children, a urinary tract infection can quickly change from cystitis to pelvic inflammatory disease. This inflammation is accompanied by a high fever. If inflammation persists for too long, kidney damage can occur.

Older children often complain of pain when urinating. Sometimes there are other symptoms, such as fever, foul-smelling urine, or relapse to wet pants or bed. Urinary tract infections can be the result of birth defects. Deviant behaviour of drinking, urinating, and defecating can also cause infections.

Signs and symptoms

If your child has a urinary tract infection, you may:

  • You have pain or burning when urinating.
  • You have pain in your lower abdomen.
  • The need to go to the bathroom frequently to urinate.
  • Urinating before reaching the bathroom (wetting or incontinence)
  • You may have smelly or discoloured urine.
  • You may have other symptoms such as fever or vomiting.

Young children with a UTI may not show any of these symptoms, but they are generally not well.

If you have noticed that your child complains of itching or burning every time he pees, it is possible that he is suffering from a urine infection, do not worry as I tell you, it is quite common when children are small, take him to the pediatrician for a diagnosis and possible treatment is the best option.

There is a difference between an infection that is limited to the bladder and an infection that also amounts to the kidneys.

If your child has a high fever or increased levels of inflammation in the blood, inflammation of the kidneys is more likely to occur. In infants younger than 3 months, any urinary tract infection is considered a kidney infection.

What causes a urine infection?

It is usually caused by bacteria entering the bladder or urethra. Germs most often come from the intestines or feces found on the skin and then enter the urethra.


Testing your urine is the only way to know for sure if you have a urinary tract infection. UTIs should not go untreated, as the infection can cause more kidney problems. You should take your child to a doctor if:

Usually, a urine sample is first tested with a test strip, which can help show if there are any signs of infection. If the dipstick test shows that there could be a urinary tract infection, the definitive diagnosis should be made by urine culture (urine culture). In this case, treatment can be started.


The main way to treat a urine infection is with antibiotics, which can usually be taken orally in the form of tablets or syrups. In many cases, younger babies will be hospitalized and given antibiotics through a vein.

Remember not to give any medication to your child without first consulting with your doctor, in addition, if he takes antibiotics you must take it into account that he takes it on time and ends the treatment as specified by your pediatrician.

Some children with a urinary tract infection may need an ultrasound to look for a problem in the bladder or kidneys, but it is usually not necessary.

Home Care

If your child has been diagnosed with a urinary tract infection, you can do different things to care for him or her while he or she recovers:

– As I said already, you must follow the doctor’s instructions to administer antibiotics, it is very important to complete the entire course of antibiotics, even if your little one seems to be better.

– Keep it at home as much as possible, it is good that you rest as much as possible.

– Offer plenty of fluids to drink throughout the day.

Preventive measures to take into account

– Have a diet high in fibre and adequate hydration.

– Educate about voiding habits, that is, frequently go to the bathroom and empty the bladder completely.

– Avoid bathing in non-chlorinated pools or ponds with untreated water.

– When going to the bathroom, always clean from front to back.

Most children who are treated for a urinary tract infection recover completely and have no problems in the future, but although in most cases the prognosis is good, they can sometimes lead to kidney damage. That is why it is important to know how to identify them and establish treatment early.

Also in the case of recurrent infections, a diagnostic evaluation is recommended to exclude that the problem is caused by the presence of a malformation in the urinary tract.


All the information we give you in this article is indicative as each child and each family is different and unique.





Carolina González Ramos

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