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Urinary Problems and Injuries,Age 11 and Younger - Topic Overview

Urinary problems and injuries are a concern in children. A young child may not be able to tell you about his or her symptoms, which can make it hard to decide what your child needs. An older child may be embarrassed about his or her symptoms. When your child has a urinary problem or injury, look at all of his or her symptoms to determine what steps to take next.

The urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys are the structures that make up the urinary tract camera.gif.

Pain during urination (dysuria) and a frequent need to urinate are common symptoms in young children. When your child has only one of these symptoms, or when the symptoms are mild, home treatment may be all that is needed to prevent the problem from getting worse and help relieve symptoms. Mild symptoms include:

  • A frequent need to urinate. A child's bladder is small and does not hold as much urine as an adult's bladder. For this reason, frequent urination is common and is not necessarily a sign of a urinary problem. Your child may urinate more because he or she is drinking extra fluid, feeling nervous, or simply from habit.
  • Burning pain when urine touches irritated skin around the vagina or urethra. Pain during urination because of skin irritation occurs more often in girls (genital skin irritation) than it does in boys.

Pain during urination and a frequent need to urinate can also mean your child has a urinary tract infection. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are the second most common bacterial infection in children. When your child has an infection, bacteria grow in the bladder and irritate the bladder wall. This causes pain as soon as a very small amount of urine reaches the bladder. You may find your child trying to urinate more often than usual in an effort to soothe the pain. But your child will pass very little urine because the bladder has only collected a small amount since the last time he or she urinated. Symptoms of a UTI vary depending on a child's age.

Many things can affect urine color, including fluid balance, diet, medicines, and diseases. How dark or light the color is tells you how much water is in it. Vitamin B supplements can turn urine bright yellow. Some medicines, blackberries, beets, rhubarb, or blood in the urine can turn urine red-brown.

Some foods (such as asparagus), vitamins, and antibiotics (such as penicillin) can cause urine to have a different odor. A sweet, fruity odor may be caused by uncontrolled diabetes. A urinary tract infection (UTI) can cause a bad odor.

Babies and very young children who have UTIs often have symptoms that do not seem specific to the urinary tract. Symptoms may include:

  • Fever, especially without other signs of infections, such as a cough or runny nose. In babies, fever may be the only symptom of a urinary tract infection.
  • Frequent or infrequent urination.
  • Strong or bad-smelling urine.
  • Dark or blood-streaked urine. Note: It is common for newborns to pass some pink urine in the first 3 days of life. This may be from crystals in the urine. Parents will notice a pink color to the urine in the diaper.
  • Lack of interest in eating or refusing food.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Squirming and irritability.
  • Diaper rash that doesn't go away.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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