Urinary tract infections are common in children and adolescents. Infants and young children can present with very different symptoms compared to adolescents. It is essential to know the common symptoms of a urinary tract infection in order to promptly diagnose it and start treatment.
Common symptoms in an infant or young child with a urinary tract infection include fever, fussiness and poor feeding. Some children have vomiting or foul-smelling urine as well. In older children the most common symptoms are abdominal pain, back pain, painful urination, frequent urination, and new onset urinary incontinence (having urinary accidents). Risk factors that increase the likelihood of a urinary tract infection include constipation, lack of circumcision (males), holding urine, wiping from back to front (females), history of previous urinary tract infection, bubble baths, vesicoureteral reflux, family history of frequent urinary tract infections or urinary tract abnormalities, and sexual activity.
Urinary tract infections are diagnosed by obtaining a urine sample in order to perform urinalysis (can be a dipstick test performed in clinic) and urine culture (sent to a lab to see what bacteria is present in the urine). If a urinalysis is performed in clinic and the results indicate a urinary tract infection is likely, the patient will likely be prescribed a medication to treat the suspected infection and the urine sample will be sent to the lab for further analysis. Simple infections can usually be treated with oral antibiotics. In some cases, the patient is very ill due to the urinary tract infection and IV antibiotics/hospitalization are necessary. The duration of treatment can range between 3 to 14 days, depending on the severity of the infection and response to treatment. Sometimes the original antibiotic needs to be changed to a different antibiotic. Patients who experience recurrent urinary tract infections may need to be referred to a urologist or nephrologist.
If you suspect that your child has a urinary tract infection it is imperative your child see a health care provider for further evaluation.
Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care opened in 2006 in San Antonio, Texas. With multiple locations in San Antonio and Dallas, they are open seven days a week with extended evening hours and see walk-in patients or through an online check-in system. They accept most commercial insurance and Medicaid plans. More information about Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care can be found at www.littlespurspedi.com.