Appointment for mother and daughter with nurse

Suspect Your Child Has a UTI? Here’s How to Help

By Shannon Suarez, MSN, APRN, CPNP

Knowing the Signs

We tend to associate UTIs with pain while voiding, voiding very often, or the feeling of needing to void but being unable to. These feelings might also accompany a fever, pain in the lower abdomen, or even back pain. Typically, the urine has a foul smell as well. This sort of stereotypical presentation can apply to any age, but in children and babies, UTIs can look a little different. You may notice your child gets the sudden urge to use the bathroom and ends up having an accident on the way. You may also notice nausea, vomiting, headaches, bed-wetting, or complaints of feeling tired. Babies often present with fussiness and poor feeding. In some cases, there can be no noticeable symptoms at all. This is often the case for those kids who get chronic infections that are challenging to treat with conventional measures.

Knowing Who Gets Them

UTIs are much more common in girls. This is due to a shorter urethra and the proximity to stool. UTIs are unlikely in boys, especially if circumcised. However, they’re possible if there is a blockage in the urinary tract. Infections are also more likely to occur in kids who tend to hold their urine. UTIs that occur in children younger than age 5 need evaluation and imaging as soon as possible to rule out anatomical concerns.

Knowing What to Do

A urine analysis with culture is the best place to start. This can be done at your child’s primary care doctor, Georgia Urology, or Urgent Care Center. It is common to start a broad-spectrum antibiotic while you wait for the result of the culture, which can take up to five days. Pain relief medications may be indicated, and it’s important to increase your child’s water intake and reduce any bladder irritants such as spicy, acidic foods or caffeine.

Knowing How to Prevent Them

In uncomplicated UTIs, good hygiene, voiding every 2-3 hours, increasing water intake, and preventing constipation go a long way in preventing repeat UTIs.

Although UTIs can cause pain and discomfort, there are preventative measures and treatment options available. If your child is experiencing symptoms of a UTI, make an appointment with a Georgia Urology pediatric physician by scheduling online or calling one of our office locations.