Urinary Tract Infections: Symptoms and Prevention

Urinary tract infections are one of the most common ailments seen in a pediatric office. A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection involving any part of the urinary tract from the kidney all the way to the urethra (where the urine comes out). Unfortunately, some people are more prone to this than others


People with a urinary tract infection can have a range of different symptoms. Some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Pain with urination
  • Foul smelling urine
  • Blood in the urine
  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Urgency and frequent urination

In more severe cases, the patient may have fever, chills, and side pain.

Note: Babies and infants may not have these “classic” symptoms of a UTI. Instead, they may have a fever, excessive fussiness, poor feeding, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Diagnosis and treatment

If a urinary tract infection is suspected, your provider will order a urinalysis to confirm the diagnosis. This will include capturing a “clean-catch” urine sample, where the area is wiped clean to avoid any skin contaminants in the urine. Since urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria, they are treated with antibiotics.


Thankfully, there are ways to help prevent UTI’s and reduce the number of infections your child has.

Wiping and staying clean

In babies and infants, it is important to keep the diaper dry, and wipe well after a wet or dirty diaper. In older kids who are potty trained, ensure they are wiping, and wiping correctly. This is especially true for girls!

Stay hydrated

Keeping up with hydration in the form of water is always important. Hydration allows the body to flush out toxins and potential bacteria.

Urinate regularly

Make sure kids are not waiting until the last minute to use the bathroom. If urine collects in the bladder for too long, that can be a perfect medium for bacteria to collect. In kids who are more prone to UTI’s, we advise using the bathroom every 2-3 hours.

Avoid constipation

And lastly, avoid constipation! With chronic constipation, hard stool can sit in the intestines. This can compress on the bladder causing urine to accumulate.

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