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
- Frequent need to urinate (frequency)
without being able to pass much urine.
- A strong desire to urinate
- Strong or bad-smelling urine.
- Blood in the
urine (hematuria). Note: Urine may look pink, red, or
- 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.
- Discharge from the
- Sudden, new
daytime wetting after a child has been toilet
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.
cases, a urinary symptom may indicate a more serious illness, such as
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
Check your child's symptoms to decide if and when
your child should see a doctor.