Skip to content

Children's Health

Font Size

Urinary Tract Infections in Children - Exams and Tests

Initial tests

If your child has symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI), the doctor's first evaluation will probably include:

  • A medical history and physical exam.
  • Urinalysis, which measures different parts of urine to help detect a UTI.
  • Urine culture, which identifies the bacteria that are causing a UTI.

If the doctor suspects that your child has a UTI, a urinalysis will help point to a diagnosis. A urine culture can confirm the diagnosis and identify what is causing the infection. But the results usually are not available for a couple of days. Rather than delay treatment to wait for the results of the urine culture, the doctor probably will start your child on antibiotics if your child's symptoms, history, and urinalysis show that a UTI is likely.

Recommended Related to Children

Top Children's Health and Parenting Stories of 2007: Readers' Choice

Children's cold drugs made the list. So did lead poisoning, smart babies, and brain foods for kids. Here is the full list of the top 10 most viewed children's health and parenting stories on WebMD for 2007. Kids and Crocs Shoes: Trendy or Risky? 10 Rules for Baby-Proofing Your Marriage 10 Ways to Raise a Spoiled Child Lead Poisoning and Kids The 5 Hardest Things About Being a Mom How to Raise a Smart Baby 1...

Read the Top Children's Health and Parenting Stories of 2007: Readers' Choice article > >

A urine sample will be collected.

  • Older children may urinate into a container.
  • In babies and young children, the doctor may:
    • Insert a catheter through the urethra and into the bladder to collect urine.
    • Collect urine by attaching a bag around the child's genitals until the child urinates. The risk of having other substances get into (contaminate) the urine sample is extremely high with this method.
    • Insert a needle through the abdomen directly into the bladder (suprapubic aspiration) to get the sample.

The doctor may do other tests if your child has a UTI and:

  • Does not improve after 4 days of medicine.
  • Has a known abnormality of the urinary tract or a history of certain kidney or bladder problems that could make the infection harder to treat.
  • May be infected with unusual bacteria that won't respond to the usual treatment.
  • Shows signs of kidney injury.

Other tests

Other common tests include:

  • Kidney (renal) ultrasound. The doctor may order a renal ultrasound or may review a fetal ultrasound that was done during the mother's third trimester of pregnancy, if available.
  • Cystourethrogram, also called a voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG). This is an X-ray test that takes pictures of your child's bladder and urethra during urination.

If an ultrasound shows problems, then a VCUG may be done. VCUG can identify vesicoureteral reflux, abnormalities of the urinary tract, and other conditions that may make your child more prone to kidney infections. If the test finds any of these conditions, the doctor can watch and give preventive treatment, if needed, to your child.

The doctor may do a kidney scan (renal scintigram) to evaluate persistent kidney infection or to evaluate kidney scarring or damage caused by previous infection.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    child with red rash on cheeks
    What’s that rash?
    plate of fruit and veggies
    How healthy is your child’s diet?
     
    smiling baby
    Treating diarrhea, fever and more.
    Middle school band practice
    Understanding your child’s changing body.
     

    worried kid
    fitArticle
    jennifer aniston
    Slideshow
     
    Measles virus
    Article
    sick child
    Slideshow
     

    babyapp
    New
    Child with adhd
    Slideshow
     
    rl with friends
    fitSlideshow
    Syringes and graph illustration
    Tool