UTIs in Children: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment

a child is doubled over in pain
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As painful as a urinary tract infection can be for an adult, imagine having to feel that discomfort as a child or to be a parent working to figure out why their child is in pain or showing symptoms of sickness. Many of you have probably been in that situation, seeing as 8% of girls and 2% of boys experience at least one UTI, according to Yale Medicine.

A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria from outside the body enters the bladder or urethra and causes irritation or infection. It is more common in girls than boys due to differences in their anatomy. Many of the characteristics of UTIs are similar in adults.


Symptoms of UTIs vary widely from person to person. Like any other infection, fever, chills, nausea or vomiting, and body pain can all be associated with a urinary tract infection. Additionally, your child may have foul smelling or cloudy urine, difficulty holding their urine until they get to the restroom, difficulty emptying their bladder, or complaining about pain while urinating. Some parents may notice regression in potty training or a refusal to use the restroom because of an aversion to the pain.

Children are slightly more susceptible to kidney damage, particularly when vomiting and nausea are symptoms because they cannot drink the fluids needed to help flush their body of the infection. Due to this increased chance, seeing a physician is important, to avoid a hospital visit or larger issues with their system.


A great measure of overall health, not just bladder health, is hydration. Make sure your kids are drinking plenty of water throughout the day and help promote this healthy habit. Also, Yale Medicine encourages parents to ensure “children are not constipated and having bowel movements at least three to four times per week.”

Good restroom habits help even further. Encourage regular restroom breaks and teach kids to take their time to make sure their bladder is fully emptied. Many kids like to avoid the restroom or rush through this process to get back to the fun of play. Teaching proper cleaning, like wiping from front to back, can help reduce the likelihood of harmful bacteria entering the body, too.


In many cases a doctor can diagnose a UTI in office and treat with antibiotics. A urine sample can be analyzed to determine if an infection is present. Children need to finish the full course of antibiotics in order to effectively fight off the infection, even after they begin feeling better. If a child has a more complicated infection, or is getting UTIs regularly, a specialist may need to be seen, but most children can be treated in office and recover normally at home.

If you or your child has a UTI, you need relief immediately. Come see our medical team at one of our several locations. We are open every day of the week from 8am to 8pm and accept many medical insurance plans. We can help care for you and get you back to enjoying your day.

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