Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

Information on conditions unique to girls and young women can be found at

The pediatric urologists with Norton Children’s Urology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, are fellowship trained in pediatric and adolescent urology specialty care. Our specialists provide urinary tract infection (UTI) care and services for children at locations throughout Kentucky.

Our specialists bring skill, respect and sensitivity to caring for your child’s urological needs.

UTI

UTIs occur when bacteria enter the bladder or kidneys. Treatment for UTI can be easy, and the infection usually clears up quickly.

Most UTIs occur in the bladder (cystitis). Sometimes the infection can travel to the kidneys (pyelonephritis). In unusual cases, a long-term infection (or bacteria colonization) can develop if the infection is not treated adequately.

UTI Causes

UTIs are relatively common in kids. The condition is more common in girls because they have a shorter urethra. Boys can develop urinary tract infections, and they are more likely to occur in uncircumcised boys younger than age 1.

A child gets a UTI when there is abnormal bacteria growth in the urine. Contributing factors may include:

  • Exposure to wet diapers
  • Holding in urine
  • In girls, wiping “back to front,” which spreads germs
  • In uncircumcised boys, not retracting the foreskin before urinating

UTI Symptoms

It’s not always obvious when an infant or young child has a UTI. Symptoms in this age group may include:

  • Fever
  • Irritability
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Decreased appetite

Symptoms in older children may include:

  • Urgency to urinate
  • Painful urination
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Frequent urination
  • Blood in urine
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Fever or chills
  • Pain in the back or side
  • Fatigue

If we suspect your child has a UTI, our team will collect a urine sample. Our lab will perform a test called a urinalysis. In some cases, the lab may perform a urine culture, which gives more detailed information about the cause of the infection. This culture will tell us how to treat the UTI.

UTI Treatment

Antibiotics kill bacteria and successfully treat UTIs caused by bacteria. Kids with UTIs should drink plenty of fluid, especially water.

We may recommend a pain reliever to ease discomfort. Heating pads typically are not recommended because they can allow bacteria to grow, and there is a chance of a child being burned.

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