Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Urinary Tract Infection (for Teenagers)
A urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of the
bladder and sometimes the kidneys. If the bladder is
infected, it is called cystitis. If the kidneys are
infected, it is called pyelonephritis. It is important to
treat UTIs so that the kidneys are not damaged.
Various symptoms are possible:
- painful urination
- an urgent need to urinate
- frequent urination
- daytime and nighttime wetting
- foul-smelling urine
- stomachaches (especially lower abdomen)
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 (or the vulva in girls) becomes irritated, bacteria
can grow there. Common irritants are bubble bath and
shampoos. Sexual intercourse or careless wiping after a
bowel movement might also cause irritation. A rare cause of
UTIs (1% of girls and 5% of boys) is obstruction of the
urinary tract, which results in incomplete emptying of the
With treatment, your fever should be gone and symptoms
should be better by 48 hours after starting the antibiotic.
The chances of getting another UTI are about 50%. Read the
advice on preventing UTIs to decrease your risk.
You need the antibiotic prescribed by your physician.
This medicine will kill the bacteria that are causing
Try not to forget any of the doses. Take the medicine
until all the pills are gone. Even though you will feel
better in a few days, take the antibiotic for the full
10 days to keep the UTI from flaring up again.
- Extra fluids
Drink extra fluids to help clear the infection.
- Fever and pain relief
Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for the painful
urination or for fever over 102 degrees F
(39 degrees C).
- Medical follow-up
Two days after you begin antibiotics, it is important to
contact your physician to find out the results of the
urine culture and make sure that your infection is
responding to the antibiotic.
About 2 weeks after your initial visit your physician
will want to see you for another urine culture. Because
the chances are high that you will develop a second
infection (50% of cases), your physician will probably
also want to check your urine 1, 4, and 12 months after
the first infection has cleared up.
- Instructions for collecting a midstream, clean-catch
urine specimen at home
If you are asked to bring a urine sample to your
physician's office, try to collect the urine when you
first urinate in the morning. Use a jar and lid that
have been sterilized by boiling for 10 minutes.
For Girls: Wash the genital area several times with a
clean washcloth and warm water. Sit on the toilet seat
with your legs spread widely so that the labia (skin
folds of the vagina) don't touch. Start to urinate into
the toilet and then place the clean container directly
in line with the stream of urine. Remove it after you
have collected a few ounces but before you stop
urinating. (The first or last drops that come out of
the bladder may be contaminated with bacteria.)
Keep the urine in the refrigerator until you take it to
your physician's office. Try to keep it chilled when
you bring it to the office (that is, put the jar in a
plastic bag with some ice).
Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections
- Urinate at least every 3 to 4 hours during the day and
don't "hold back."
- Urinate after baths.
- Sexually active young women should urinate after
- Wipe correctly from front to back, especially after a
- Don't put bubble bath, shampoo, or other soaps into the
bathwater. Don't let a bar of soap float around the tub.
- Don't become constipated. Try to have a BM every day.
- Drink enough fluids each day to keep the urine
Call Your Physician Immediately If:
- You start having back pain.
- You start feeling very sick.
Call Your Physician During Office Hours If:
- Fever or painful urination lasts more than 48 hours after
you start taking an antibiotic.
- You have other concerns or questions.