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A parent’s guide to Urinary Tract Infections in children

Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection anywhere in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the organs that produce, pass or store urine including the kidneys, ureters (the tube through which urine passes out of the kidneys), urinary bladder. UTI is quite common, especially in young children/infants. It can also occur in older children.

Signs and symptoms

  • Moderate to high-grade fever without cold/cough
  • Pain on passing urine
  • Needing to pass urine more frequently
  • Passing urine before getting to the toilet (incontinence or wetting)
  • Pain in the lower part of the tummy
  • Experiencing a burning pain when passing urine
  • Smelly urine
  • In young children, UTI may cause a fever or general un-wellness without any of the above symptoms.


A routine urine test can detect the possibility of a UTI. Additional tests such as a Urine Culture might also be performed.

Special Tests:

Many children with UTI, especially below the age of 5 years, may have underlying problems of the urinary bladder or kidneys. Common tests done to identify these problems are:

  • Ultrasound scan – This is a simple and painless test.
  • Micturating Cystourethrogram (MCU) is done. This test involves putting a catheter into the bladder through the urethra. Dye is injected through the catheter and X-Ray pictures are taken. The test is done mainly to look for a condition known as urinary reflux (sometimes called VUR).
  • Special scans such as DMSA scan.


Antibiotics are the mainstay of therapy. They can be taken orally or have to be given as injectables, depending on the severity of the illness and age of the child.

Follow up:

Most children with UTI make a good recovery and have no future problems.

In a very small number of children, there may be underlying kidney or urinary bladder problems, which will need further follow up. Your doctor will discuss the necessary tests and how to monitor this. It is recommended for a child who has had a UTI in the past to get the blood pressure checked yearly and to do a urine test in every subsequent episode of fever.

How to Keep Your Kidneys Healthy?

  • Drink plenty of water every day.
  • Avoid food that has a high salt content and preservatives.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Keep active, play sports, exercise regularly.
  • Avoid taking over the counter medications, without prior consultation with your doctor.
  • Avoid taking strong medications for fever.

Dr. Uma Ali, Dr. Vaishali More and Dr. Nisha Krishnamurthy | SRCC Children’s Hospital, Mumbai

Narayana Health

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Narayana Health

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