Symptoms of urinary tract infection (UTI) should begin to improve within 1 to 2 days in most girls. The advice below may not be as accurate for girls with more complex problems.
Treating the Infection
Your child will take antibiotic medicines by mouth at home. These may come as pills, capsules, or a liquid.
- For a simple bladder infection, your child will likely take antibiotics for 3 to 5 days. If your child has a fever, your child may take antibiotics for 10 to 14 days.
- Antibiotics may cause side effects. These include nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Talk to your child's doctor if you notice side effects. DO NOT stop giving the medicine until you have spoken to a doctor.
- Your child should finish all the antibiotic medicine, even if symptoms go away. UTIs that are not well-treated can cause kidney damage.
Other treatments include:
- Taking medicine to ease pain when urinating. This medicine makes the urine a red or orange color. Your child will still need to take antibiotics while taking the pain medicine.
- Drinking plenty of fluids.
Preventing Future UTIs
The following steps can help prevent UTIs in girls:
- Avoid giving your child bubble baths.
- Have your child wear loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear.
- Keep your child's genital area clean.
- Teach your child to urinate several times a day.
- Teach your child to wipe the genital area from front to back after using the bathroom. This can help reduce the chance of spreading germs from the anus to the urethra.
To avoid hard stools, your child should eat foods that are high in fiber, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Call your child's health care provider after the child finishes taking the antibiotics. Your child may be checked to make sure the infection is gone.
When to Call Your Doctor
Call your child's provider right away if she develops:
- Back or side pain
These may be signs of a possible kidney infection.
Also, call if your child has already been diagnosed with a UTI and symptoms of a bladder infection come back shortly after finishing the antibiotics. Symptoms of bladder infection include:
- Blood in the urine
- Cloudy urine
- Foul or strong urine odor
- Frequent or urgent need to urinate
- General ill feeling (malaise)
- Pain or burning with urination
- Pressure or pain in the lower pelvis or lower back
- Wetting problems after the child has been toilet trained
- Low-grade fever
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Sobel JD, Kaye D. Urinary tract infections. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 74.
White B. Diagnosis and treatment of urinary tract infections in children. Am Fam Physician. 2011 Feb 15;83(4):409-15. PMID: 21322515 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21322515.
Williams G, Craig JC. Long-term antibiotics for preventing recurrent urinary tract infection in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Mar 16;(3):CD001534. PMID: 21412872 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21412872.
Update Date 7/10/2015
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.