Recurrent urine infections

Recurrent urine infections are relatively common in children, especially in girls from about 5 years to early teen years. The main reason for these infections is the transfer of bacteria from the digestive system (bottom area) into the urethra (the tube where urine comes out) and then into the bladder. 

Preventing Recurrent UTIs in children

Parents can play an important role in reducing the frequency of these infections by::

  1. Wiping Front to Back
    • Teach your child to wipe from front to back after using the toilet. This helps prevent the transfer of bacteria from the bottom to the bladder.
  2. Avoiding Bubble Bath and Shampoo
    • Don’t use bubble bath or shampoo in bathwater because these products may damage the protective mucus around the urethra. Encourage your child to have showers rather than baths, if possible.
  3. Encouraging your child to "Drink Lots and Wee Often"
    • Encourage your child to drink plenty (water is best) and to empty their bladder regularly. Some children may not like using school toilets, and addressing this is important to prevent them holding onto urine for too long.
  4. Addressing Constipation
    • Incomplete bladder emptying is often linked to constipation in children. Proper treatment and control of constipation are essential in reducing the risk of recurrent urine infections. For information about constipation, click here.

Seeking Further Help

If you are doing these things but your child continues to have frequent urine infections, you should arrange for your child to be reviewed by their GP practice. They will arrange for a sample of your child's urine to be sent for testing as well as considering other possible causes for your child's symptoms, such as vulvovaginitis in girls. If they confirm that your child is having recurrent urinary tract infections, they are likely to arrange for your child to be seen by a paediatrician. In the meantime, they may decide to:

  1. Carry out further tests
    • They may refer your child for ultrasound imaging of the bladder after peeing, to check for complete emptying.
  2. Start regular (prophylactic) antibiotics:
    • In some cases, your child may be prescribed regular antibiotics to prevent future infections (prophylaxis). This treatment may continue until your child remains infection-free for several months.
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