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Urinary Tract Infection Symptoms

Expert Q&A


Updated June 10, 2014

Q. My daughter is urinating small amounts every fifteen to thirty minutes. Is that a symptom of a bladder infection and what are others? Rachele, Las Cruces, NM

A. Frequent urination (frequency) can be a symptom of a urinary tract infection.

Other urinary tract infection symptoms can include one or more of the following:

  • painful, burning urination (dysuria)
  • cloudy or bloody urine, which may have an odor
  • fever
  • feeling like you have to go all of a sudden (urgency)
  • irritability
  • having accidents
  • back pain or lower abdominal pain
  • nausea and/or vomiting
Keep in mind that in younger children, an unexplained fever may be the only symptom of a urinary tract infection. Or they may just be irritable or may not be eating well.

If you think that your child might have a urinary tract infection, a visit to your Pediatrician, who will likely perform a urinalysis and urine culture, would be a good idea.

There are other things that might cause a child to urinate frequently. One that parents commonly think of is diabetes. Keep in mind that children with diabetes, in addition to urinating frequently, also drink a lot and lose weight. Take our diabetes screening quiz if you think that your child might have diabetes. Since you don't mention any other symptoms, that seems unlikely though.

An even more common cause of frequent urination, especially if your child is between the ages of 3 and 8 years old, is pollakiuria. This condition is also called frequent daytime urination syndrome. Children with pollakiuria often urinate 10-30 times a day, but have no other symptoms. It is thought to be linked to stress, although no obvious stressor is found by most parents, and goes away without treatment after 2-3 weeks.

Some children who are constipated or who hold their urine for too long (voiding dysfunction), may also begin to urinate frequently like you describe. Treating the constipation and encouraging a regular schedule of urinating every few hours can help this.

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