Urinary tract infection in girls - aftercare
What to Expect at Home
Symptoms of urinary tract infection (UTI) should begin to improve within 1 to 2 days of starting antibiotics 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 provider if you notice side effects. Do not stop giving the medicine until you have spoken to a provider.
- 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 provider after the child finishes taking the antibiotics. Your child may be checked to make sure the infection is gone.
When to Call the 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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Jerardi KE, Jackson EC. Urinary tract infections. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 553.
Williams G, Craig JC. Long-term antibiotics for preventing recurrent urinary tract infection in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;4(4):CD001534. PMID: 30932167
Wu HY, Shortliffe LMD. Urinary tract infections, renal abscess, and other complex renal infections. In: Long SS, ed. Principles and Practice of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2023:chap 48.
Last reviewed on: 7/1/2023
Reviewed by: Charles I. Schwartz, MD, FAAP, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, General Pediatrician at PennCare for Kids, Phoenixville, PA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.