Richmond Practice - Urinary infections in children

Urinary infections in children
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Is your child’s urine unusually cloudy or smelly?
Does your child have discomfort urinating?

They may have an infection in their urinary tract. Urinary tract infections are common in children. They may have symptoms of fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, bedwetting and the symptoms described above. We take urinary tract infections more seriously in younger children, certainly those under the age of five. Untreated infections can cause long-term kidney damage (scars) and, very occasionally, kidney failure later in life.

Most children will have bacteria growing in their urine at some stage but they require no treatment providing the child has no alarming symptoms.

Consult your doctor if:
  • your child shows symptoms of a urinary tract infection, for example: fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, bedwetting, cloudy or smelly urine
  • your child has discomfort urinating
Consult either of our doctors or our paediatrician as soon as possible, but do not panic.
There are essentially three tests we perform to examine the kidneys and urinary tract when we suspect a urinary tract infection in young children:
  • an abdominal ultrasound is a non-invasive procedure, safe and pleasant for your child
  • a DMSA scan is a minor radioactive injection to track kidney function
  • some children will need a MCUG scan to check the direction of flow of urine. This is an additional investigation done for children less than one year old, those with a family history of vesico-ureteric reflux or those with an abnormal ultra sound/DMSA scan.
For confirmed urinary tract infections we can prescribe an antibiotic for your child to take regularly for a number of days. This will stop the infection without causing any long-term kidney damage.