Dr. MJ Bazos MD, Patient Handout
Urinary Tract Infections in Children

What is a urinary tract infection?
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the bladder and the urethra. The kidneys are 2 bean-shaped organs that lie against the spine in the lower back. Blood flows through the kidneys. Waste products from the blood are removed in the kidneys and stored in the bladder as urine. The bladder is the balloon-shaped organ that stores the urine. The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder outside the body.

How will I know if my child has a UTI?
Your child may have a UTI if he or she has 1 or more of the following symptoms:

What causes a UTI?
UTIs are caused by bacteria (germs) getting into the bladder or the kidneys. The following things can sometimes cause germs to get into the bladder or kidney:
Some children have a condition that keeps their bladder from emptying all the way. These children may have UTIs often.

How is a UTI treated?

Some children who have a UTI have to take medicine. Antibiotics are used to treat UTI. In most cases, antibiotics can be given orally (by mouth). If the infection is severe, the antibiotics may be given through a vein in the hospital. To cure the UTI, your child must take all the medicine exactly as the doctor prescribes. It's also important that your child drink enough fluids every day so the urine isn't concentrated.

Can a UTI cause serious damage to the kidneys?

Yes, sometimes a UTI can damage the kidneys. It's important to call your child's doctor right away if you believe he or she may have a UTI.

What if my child has UTIs again and again?
You doctor may want to check to see if an anatomical (physical) problem is causing the UTIs. If so, surgery may be needed to fix the problem. Some children with bladder or kidney problems have to take medicine all the time so they won't get another UTI. This medicine is taken once a day.

How can we prevent UTIs?
Here are some things that may help prevent UTIs in your child: