Urinary Tract Infections in Children
Exams and Tests
If your child has symptoms of a Reference urinary tract infection (UTI) Opens New Window, the doctor's first evaluation will probably include:
- A Reference medical history and physical exam.
- Reference Urinalysis, which measures different parts of urine to help detect a UTI.
- Reference Urine culture, which identifies the bacteria that are causing a UTI.
If the doctor suspects that your child has a UTI, a urinalysis will help point to a diagnosis. A urine culture can confirm the diagnosis and identify what is causing the infection. But the results usually are not available for a couple of days. Rather than delay treatment to wait for the results of the urine culture, the doctor probably will start your child on Reference antibiotics Opens New Window if your child's symptoms, history, and urinalysis show that a UTI is likely.
A urine sample will be collected.
- Older children may urinate into a container.
babies and young children, the doctor may:
- Insert a Reference catheter Opens New Window through the Reference urethra Opens New Window and into the bladder to collect urine.
- Collect urine by attaching a bag around the child's genitals until the child urinates. The risk of having other substances get into (contaminate) the urine sample is extremely high with this method.
- Insert a needle through the abdomen directly into the bladder (Reference suprapubic aspiration Opens New Window) to get the sample.
The doctor may do other tests if your child has a UTI and:
- Does not improve after 4 days of medicine.
- Has a known abnormality of the urinary tract or a history of certain kidney or bladder problems that could make the infection harder to treat.
- May be infected with unusual bacteria that won't respond to the usual treatment.
- Shows signs of Reference kidney failure Opens New Window.
Tests after a child's first UTI
Some doctors recommend tests to check the Reference urinary tract Opens New Window Reference Opens New Window after the first UTI in an infant or young child. But these tests may not be able to help a doctor decide what treatment is needed.
The most common tests after an infant's or young child's first UTI are:
- Reference Kidney (renal) ultrasound. The doctor may review a Reference fetal ultrasound Opens New Window that was done during the mother's third trimester of pregnancy, if available.
- Reference Cystourethrogram (also called cystogram), which is an X-ray test that takes pictures of your child's bladder and urethra during urination.
The purpose of doing these tests after treatment for your child's UTI is to reduce the risk of future kidney damage and related problems, such as Reference high blood pressure Opens New Window and kidney failure. These tests can identify vesicoureteral reflux, abnormalities of the Reference urinary tract Opens New Window, and other conditions that may make your child more prone to kidney infections. If the tests find any of these conditions, the doctor can watch and give preventive treatment, if needed, to your child. The doctor will do these tests at the earliest convenient time after your child's UTI improves.
The doctor may do a Reference kidney scan (renal scintigram) to evaluate persistent kidney infection or to evaluate kidney scarring or damage caused by previous infection.
During the year after your child's first UTI, the doctor may do periodic urine cultures to screen for UTI infections. But doctors do not agree on how effective follow-up urine cultures are.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference May 7, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Reference Avery L. Seifert, MD - Urology