These studies may be done while the child has an infection. Most often, they are done weeks to several months later.
Your health care provider will consider many things when deciding if and when a special study is needed, including:
The child's age and history of other UTIs (infants and younger children usually need follow-up tests)
The severity of the infection and how well it responds to treatment
Other medical problems or physical defects the child may have
In children, UTIs should be treated quickly with antibiotics to protect the kidneys. Any child under 6 months old or who has other complications should see a specialist right away.
Younger infants will most often need to stay in the hospital and be given antibiotics through a vein. Older infants and children are treated with antibiotics by mouth. If this is not possible, they may need to get treated in the hospital.
Your child should drink plenty of fluids when being treated for a urinary tract infection.
Some children may be treated with antibiotics for periods as long as 6 months to 2 years. This treatment is more likely when the child has had repeat infections or vesicoureteral reflux.
After antibiotics are finished, your child's health care provider may ask you to bring your child back to do another urine test. This may be needed to make sure that bacteria are no longer in the bladder.
Most children are cured with proper treatment. Most of the time, repeat infections can be prevented.
Repeated infections that involve the kidneys can lead to long-term damage to the kidneys.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if your child's UTI symptoms continue after treatment, or come back more than twice in 6 months.
Call your health care provider if the child's symptoms get worse. Also call if your child develops new symptoms, such as:
Fever of 100.4°F (38°C) rectally in infants, or over 101°F (38.3°C) in children
Low back pain or abdominal pain below the belly button
Fever that does not go away
Very frequent urination, or need to urinate many times during the night
Things you can do to prevent UTIs include:
Avoid giving your child bubble baths.
Have your child wear loose-fitting underpants and clothing.
Increase your child's intake of fluids.
Keep your child's genital area clean to prevent bacteria from entering through the urethra.
Teach your child to go the bathroom several times every day.
Teach your child to wipe the genital area from front to back to reduce the spread of bacteria.
To prevent recurrent UTIs, the health care provider may recommend low-dose antibiotics after the first symptoms have gone away.
Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW III, Schor NF, Behrman RE. Urinary tract infections. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St. Geme JW III, Schor NF, Behrman RE, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 169.
Skoog SJ, Peters CA, Arant BS Jr, et al. Pediatric Vesicoureteral Reflux Guidelines Panel summary report: clinical practice guidelines for screening siblings of children with vesicoureteral reflux and neonates/infants with prenatal hydronephrosis. J Urol. 2010;184:1145-1151.
White B. Diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infection in children. Am Fam Physician. 2011;83:409-415.
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.