A urinary tract infection (UTI) occurs when bacteria from the skin around the genitals or rectum, enters the urine. The urinary tract is made up of the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder, and the urethra. The kidneys make urine which is then carried through the utreters to the bladder where it is stored. The urethra then moves the urine out of the body during urination. When bacteria enter the urethra, the entire urinary tract is susceptible to infection. Most commonly, the infection will be minor, but left untreated is liable to cause severe kidney damage.
Girls are more prone to getting a UTI as the urethra is much shorter in girls allowing the bacteria to more easily get into the urinary tract. Symptoms to look for include fever, crying or an indication that urinating is painful, funny smelling urine, cloudy or dark urine, vomiting, abdominal pain, back pain, fatigue, and chills. If you notice these symptoms, take your child to the doctor.
A doctor will collect a urine specimen to check it for bacteria using a urine dipstick. If signs of bacteria are present, antibiotics will be prescribed. In the case that bacteria are not present, the doctor may have more tests done to determine the cause of the pain.
To prevent a UTI from reoccurring, make sure that your child takes the entire prescription of antibiotics and drinks plenty of fluids to flush out the urinary tract often.