Urinary Tract Infection

What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?
UTIs are infections of the bladder (cystitis) and sometimes the kidneys (pyelonephritis). It is important to treat UTIs so that the kidneys are not damaged. Various symptoms can be found. Your child may have painful urination; bladder frequency or urgency; daytime & nighttime wetting; dribbling; foul-smelling urine; fever; stomachaches; and/or vomiting.

What causes UTIs?
UTIS are caused by bacteria. The bacteria enter the bladder by traveling up the urethra. Usually, the urethra is protected, but if the opening of the urethra (or the vulva in girls) is irritated, bacteria can grow. Common irritants are bubble bath, shampoo, or fecal soiling. A rare cause of UTIS (1% in girls and 5% in boys) is blockage of the urinary tract that might cause incomplete emptying of the bladder.

What will help at home?
Antibiotics. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic for your child to take when you go home. An antibiotic will kill the bacteria that are causing the UTI.

If the medicine is liquid, store it in the refrigerator and shake the bottle well before measuring each dose. Use a measuring spoon to be sure that you give the right dose.

Try not to forget any of the doses. If your child goes to school or a babysitter, arrange for someone to give any doses needed. Give the antibiotic doses until the pills are gone or the bottle is empty. Even though your child will feel better in a few days, give the antibiotic for the full length of time that you doctor has prescribed to keep the UTI from flaring up.

Extra fluids: Encourage your child to drink extra fluids to help clear the infection and flush the kidneys.

Fever and pain relief: Acetaminophen may be given if your child develops a fever or if urination is quite painful. Ask your doctor regarding dose.

Medical Follow-up: Your physician may want to recheck your child's urine at a later date. Be sure to contact the office for an appointment. If you are told to bring in a urine sample, try to collect the first one in the morning. The doctor's office , or lab can give you a sterile container to collect the specimen in.

Wash off the genital area several times with cotton balls and warm water. Have your child then sit on the toilet seat with her legs spread widely so that the labia (skin folds of the vagina) don't touch. Have her start to urinate into the toilet, and then place the sterile container directly in line with the urine stream. Remove it after you have collected a few ounces, but before she stops. The first or last ounce that comes out of the bladder may be contaminated.

Keep the urine in the refrigerator until you take it into the office. Bring it in chilled (put the jar in a plastic bag with ice around the jar).

Prevention of UTIs
  • Wash the genital area with water, not soap.
  • Don't put bubble baths, shampoo, or other soaps into the bath water. Don't let a bar of soap float around in the tub.
  • Keep bath time less than 15 minutes.
  • Have your child urinate after baths.
  • Teach your daughter to wipe herself correctly from front to back, especially after a bowel movement.
  • Try not to let your child become constipated.
  • Encourage her to drink enough fluids each day to keep the urine light-colored.
  • Encourage her to urinate at least every 3 to 4 hours during the day and not "hold back".
  • Have her wear loose cotton underpants.

Call your doctor Immediately if:
  • Fever or painful urination is not gone after your child has taken the antibiotic for 48 hours.
  • Your child is able to pass only very small amounts of urine.
  • The urine becomes bloody.
  • Your child starts acting very sick.

Within 24 hours if:
  • Your child refuses to take the antibiotic.
  • Your child gets worse while taking the medicine.

During Regular office hours if:
  • You have other questions or concerns.