Urinary Tract Infections: Treatment
A urinary tract infection or UTI is an infection of the bladder and sometimes the kidneys. It is important to treat UTIs so that the kidneys are not damaged. The most common symptoms are painful urination, frequent urination, daytime and nighttime wetting, and a foul-smelling urine.
Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria. The bacteria enter the bladder by traveling up the urethra. In general, the urethra is protected, but if the opening of the urethra is irritated, bacteria can grow there. Common irritants are bubble bath, shampoo, or fecal soiling. A UTI is diagnosed by a positive urine culture. Let's assume your child has seen your healthcare provider and has a positive urine culture.
Here are some tips about treatment:
- First: Antibiotics are critical for clearing up the infection. Continue them until they are completely gone.
- Second: Encourage your child to drink extra fluids to help wash out the bacteria causing the infection.
- Third: Give acetaminophen or ibuprofen if your child develops a fever over 102 degrees or if urination is quite painful.
- Fourth: For a burning sensation with urination and redness of the vulva, have your child soak in warm water with baking soda for 20 minutes to remove irritants. Add 2 ounces of baking soda to a tub of warm water. After puberty, vinegar is used instead of baking soda. If the vulva is very irritated, also apply 1 percent hydrocortisone cream a few times.
- Finally: If your child is taking antibiotics and the fever and pain have not cleared within 48 hours, your child may need a different antibiotic.
For this or other questions about UTIs, consult your healthcare provider.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D. FAAP
Last Review: 6/1/2008
Last Revised: 6/1/2000
Copyright 1994-2008 Barton Schmitt, M.D. Parent Advice Messages.