The urinary tract carries urine from the kidneys to the outside of the body. It includes the kidneys, bladder, and tubes that connect them. The tubes from the kidney to bladder are called ureters. The tube from the bladder to the outside of the body is called the urethra. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any of these structures.
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UTIs are caused by bacteria. The bacteria may enter the bladder or the kidneys.
Factors that may increase your child's chance of a urinary tract infection include:
The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. The doctor may also ask for a urine sample. Tests may include:
Imaging tests may be ordered if UTIs recur. The test may include ultrasound or specialized scans and x-rays to look for problems in tract structure.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for your child. Treatment options include:
Antibiotics will help fight the bacteria that is causing the infection. Some severe infections may need to have antibiotics delivered by IV or an injection.
Fluids can help to flush the bacteria out of the system. It will also decrease the concentration of the urine. This may make it more comfortable to urinate.
UTIs can be uncomfortable and cause fever. Over-the-counter pain medicine can help.
Note —Aspirin is not recommended for children with a current or recent viral infection. Check with the doctor before giving your child aspirin.
To help reduce your child's chances of a urinary tract infection:
Family Doctor—American Academy of Family Physicians
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
About Kids Health—The Hospital for Sick Children
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) clinical practice guideline on diagnosis and management of initial UTI in febrile infants and children aged 2 to 24 months. Pediatrics. 2011 Sep;128(3):595.
Urinary tract infection. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Urinary_Tract_Infections. Accessed January 28, 2021.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) in children. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115591/Urinary-tract-infection-UTI-in-children. Accessed January 28, 2021.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) prevention. Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/health/u/uti-prevention. Accessed January 28, 2021.
Last reviewed March 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Chelsea Skucek, MSN, BS, RNC-NIC Last Updated: 1/28/2021