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Urinary tract infections in children

Urinary tract infections (UTI) are common and easy to treat, but they can be hard to spot and your child might seem to be ill for no obvious reason.

It is caused by bacteria growing in parts of the body that carry urine and can affect your child’s bladder or kidneys, or the tubes that carry urine themselves – A urinary tract infection can damage your child’s kidneys so it is important to see with a doctor.

Symptoms can include a high temperature, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of appetite. Some children get cloudy or strange smelling urine, and may have difficulty urinating or the need to urinate a lot. Children may also experience pain in their abdomen or pain when they urinate.

In order to find out whether your child has a urinary tract infection we test a sample of their urine and most children can be treated easily with antibiotics. Antibiotics can help your child recover from their infection and reduce the risk of kidney damage and your child should start to feel better after a day or two of taking them. It is important to make sure your child takes the full course of antibiotics, otherwise there is a risk that your child will get unwell again.

However, surgery may be required to treat children who get lots of urinary tract infections. This can be caused by an abnormality in a child’s urinary tract. For example, in some children, their urine can flow backwards towards their kidneys rather than forwards towards their bladder. This is called Reflux and might put your child at risk of getting more urinary tract infections in the future.

Surgery will change how the tubes from your child's kidneys (ureters) attach to the bladder and stop urine flowing back up towards the kidneys. After surgery, your child may be given a low dose of antibiotics to take for every day for several months.

Key Information on:

Dr Jack Singer - London Paediatrician

The Portland HospitalBUPA Cromwell HospitalKing Edward VII's HospitalSevenoaks Medical Centre - A London Bridge HospitalParkside HospitalHarley Street Paediatric GroupHCA Healthcare UK at The Shard