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

Young children who have a UTI usually have symptoms that are more clearly related to the urinary tract. Symptoms may include:

  • Burning with urination (dysuria). This is the most common symptom of a urinary tract infection.
  • Fever.
  • Frequent need to urinate (frequency) without being able to pass much urine.
  • A strong desire to urinate (urgency).
  • Strong or bad-smelling urine.
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria). Note: Urine may look pink, red, or brown.
  • Belly pain.
  • Pain in the flank, which is felt just below the rib cage and above the waist on one or both sides of the back.
  • Vomiting.
  • Discharge from the vagina.
  • Sudden, new daytime wetting after a child has been toilet trained.

UTIs are caused when bacteria, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), which are normally present in the digestive tract, enter the urinary tract. Two common types of UTIs are:

  • Bladder infections, which occur when bacteria get into the bladder by traveling up the urethra.
  • Kidney infections, which usually occur when bacteria get into a kidney by traveling from the bladder up the ureters. Kidney infection also may occur if bacteria from an infection in another part of the body travel to the kidneys through the bloodstream.

Except during the first 3 months of life, girls are more likely than boys to have urinary problems. Girls are also more likely than boys to have more than one UTI.

Babies and young children who have problems with the structure or function of the urinary tract may be more likely to have UTIs. A problem such as vesicoureteral reflux or an obstruction in the urinary tract may make it hard to empty the bladder completely. This will allow bacteria to grow and spread more easily through the urinary tract. These problems may be present at birth (congenital) or can be the result of surgery, injury, or past infection.

During the first year of life, boys are more likely than girls to have a structural (anatomic) reason for urinary problems. If your child has a known structural or functional problem with the urinary tract, follow your doctor's instructions about when to seek care for urinary symptoms.

In rare cases, a urinary symptom may indicate a more serious illness, such as diabetes.

An injury, such as getting hit in the back or genital area, may cause urinary problems. A visit to a doctor is usually needed if your child has trouble urinating, cannot urinate, or has blood in his or her urine.

Check your child's symptoms to decide if and when your child should see a doctor.

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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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