Urologist (Pediatric) Questions Urinary Tract Infections

Is it possible for children to have UTIs?

My daughter has been complaining of pain whenever they urinate, and has also complained of other symptoms related to an UTI. I'm taking her to the pediatrician tomorrow to get a formal diagnosis. But is it really possible for some children to get UTIs? What causes them?

3 Answers

Yes, it is common for children to have UTI's. It is more common in uncircumcised boys in the first year of life and more common in older girls. A UTI must be confirmed by culture an sensitivity of a clean-catch urine sample. When the UTI is associated with pain, burning and/or urinary frequency it is usually a bladder infection and the kidneys are usually spared. When the infection is associated with fever and abdominal pain with or without vomiting, it means that the infection has ascended into the kidneys and antibiotic therapy must be instituted within 48 hours to avoid kidney damage. Constipation is frequently associated with urinary tract infections and must be ruled out and treated to avoid recurrences.
UTIs are quite common in prepubertal girls. Symptoms are most commonly frequent urination, burning pain sensation with urination & foul urinary malodor. May also have some wetting, day & or night. UTIs can be due to constipation, failure to widely separate thighs with urination causing some vaginal trapping of urine which then becomes infected, bubble bath or non-cotton panties. Thong panties can cause UTIs in older girls.
There are many reasons for a child, boy or girl, to have UTI. This can be caused by either an underlying medical condition such as urinary reflux, or simply a behavior-related issue such as "lazy bladder." Without a proper clinical evaluation and imaging study, sometimes it is difficult to determine the true cause. I would recommend taking your daughter to the pediatrician first. He or she may request a pediatric urology consult if necessary.

Thank you.