ZocdocAnswersCan children have urinary tract infections?

Question

Can children have urinary tract infections?

Can kids get urinary tract infections just like adults? My 7-yr old has been avoiding the bathroom, and I know that's not a good habit for her to be in. On the other hand, I know kids' bodies work differently, and most of the time they seem to be healthier, anyway! Should I be concerned or not?

Answer

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are some of the most common serious infections that children suffer from. They are most frequently caused by bacteria found in the gastrointestinal tract. The prevalence of UTIs varies depending on the age of the child. Younger children, including both males and females are most susceptible. However, by the age of one year girls are much more likely to get UTIs. Females are particularly susceptible to UTIs because the anatomical distance between the anus and the urethra is significantly shorter than for males. The bacteria can travel this distance either by direct introduction of bacteria into the area surrounding the urethra or by improper hygiene or indirectly by bacterial migration over the skin. If your daughter is suffering from a UTI she will likely complain of some symptoms such as fevers, nausea, strong-smelling urine, pain with urination or difficulty with urination. A simple urine sample can help your daughter’s pediatrician determine if your daughter has a UTI. However, if it is your child’s first UTI there is frequently further work-up such as an ultrasound required to determine any anatomical abnormality is predisposing her to infection. You should talk with your daughter’s pediatrician who can better evaluate her symptoms and suggest the best treatment options.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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