Symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) in Children

Frequent urination is a sign

Boy Getting Dressed
Stephanie Rausser/Getty Images

Do you know how to spot the signs of a urinary tract infection (UTI) in children? Many parents wonder when their children exhibit the signs of this common infection but can't be sure that a UTI is to blame. Learn how to spot the condition in youngsters and when to seek medical help with this review. 

Signs and Symptoms of a UTI in Children

Frequent urination can be a symptom of a urinary tract infection.

One parent reported, for example, that her young daughter urinated in small amounts every 15 to 30 minutes. This is a telltale sign.

Other urinary tract infection symptoms can include painful burning urination known as dysuria. A child may also have cloudy or bloody urine, which may have an odor.

In addition, children may have a fever or feel like they need to go to the bathroom very suddenly or urgently. They may experience irritability, have accidents, back pain or lower abdominal pain. Some children may experience nausea or vomiting as well.

Keep in mind that in younger children, an unexplained fever may be the only symptom of a urinary tract infection. Some children may just be irritable or not eating well.

When to Consult a Pediatrician

If you think that your child might have a urinary tract infection because the youngster exhibits the signs above, it's a good idea to make a visit to your pediatrician.

The doctor will likely perform a urinalysis and urine culture to determine which medical condition, if any, is responsible for the symptoms you're seeing in your child.

Should your child have a UTI, the doctor will recommend next steps, treatment and prevention methods for the future.

When a UTI Isn't the Culprit

There are other medical conditions that might cause a child to urinate frequently.

One that parents commonly think of is diabetes. Keep in mind that children with diabetes, in addition to urinating frequently, also drink a lot and lose weight.

Take a diabetes screening quiz if you think that your child might have diabetes. If your child doesn't have any other symptoms related to the condition it is unlikely that the youngster has diabetes. You shouldn't necessarily rule it out, however, because symptoms aren't always obvious.

Diabetes and UTIs aren't the only medical conditions that cause frequent urination in children. An even more common cause of frequent urination, especially if your child is between the ages of 3 and 8 years old, is pollakiuria. This condition is also called frequent daytime urination syndrome.

Children with pollakiuria often urinate 10 to 30 times a day but have no other symptoms. It is thought to be linked to stress, although no obvious stressor is found by most parents, and it goes away without treatment after two to three weeks.

Some children who are constipated or who hold their urine for too long (voiding dysfunction), may also begin to urinate frequently like many parents describe.

Treating the constipation and encouraging a regular schedule of urinating every few hours can help this. Try to find out why the child hesitates to go to the bathroom and what can be done to make the youngster more comfortable.

Continue Reading