This topic is about urinary
tract infections in children. For information about these infections in teens
and adults, see the topic
Urinary Tract Infections in Teens and Adults.
urinary tract is the part of the body that makes urine
and carries it out of the body. It includes the
bladder and kidneys and the tubes that connect them. When germs (called
bacteria) get into the urinary tract, they can cause an infection.
Urinary infections in children usually go away quickly if you treat them
right away. But if your child keeps getting infections, your doctor may suggest tests to rule out more serious problems.
Urinary infections can lead to a serious
infection throughout the body called
sepsis. Problems from a urinary infection are more
likely to happen in babies born too soon, in newborns, and in infants who have
something blocking the flow of urine.
that live in the
large intestine and are in stool can get in the
urethra. This is the tube that carries urine from the
bladder to the outside of the body. Then germs can get
into the bladder and
Babies and young children
may not have the most common symptoms, such as pain or burning when they
urinate. Also, they can't tell you what they feel. In a baby or a young child,
- A fever not caused by the flu or another
- Urine that has a strange smell.
child not being hungry.
- The child acting
Older children are more likely to have common symptoms,
- Pain or burning when they
- Needing to urinate often.
- Loss of bladder
- Red, pink, cloudy, or foul-smelling urine.
- Pain in the flank, which is felt just below the rib cage and above the waist on one or both sides of the back.
- Lower belly pain.
The doctor will
give your child a physical exam and ask about his or her symptoms. Your child
also will have lab tests, such as a
urinalysis and a urine
culture, to check for germs in the urine. It takes 1 to 2 days to get the results of a
urine culture, so many doctors will prescribe medicine to fight the infection
without waiting for the results. This is because a child's symptoms and the
urinalysis may be enough to show an infection.
After your child
gets better, the doctor may have him or her tested to find out if there is a
problem with the urinary tract. For example, urine might flow backward from the
bladder into the kidneys. Problems like this can make a child more likely to
get an infection in the bladder or kidneys.