Bladder Home > More Info on Why Childhood UTIs Occur

Urinary Obstruction
An obstruction that blocks the urinary flow can occur in many places in the urinary tract. A urinary obstruction can occur when the ureter or urethra is too narrow or when a kidney stone stops the urinary flow from leaving the body. Occasionally, the ureter may join the kidney or bladder at the wrong place and prevent urine from leaving the kidney in the normal way, which could cause a urinary tract infection.
Dysfunctional Voiding
Dysfunctional voiding can occur when children develop a habit of delaying a trip to the bathroom. They may work so hard at keeping the sphincter muscle tight that they forget how to relax it at the right time, thus becoming unable to empty the bladder completely. Some children may strain during urination, causing pressure in the bladder that sends urine flowing back up the ureters. Dysfunctional voiding can lead to vesicoureteral reflux, accidental leaking, and urinary tract infections.

Tests Used to Identify Causes of Childhood Urinary Tract Infections

There are several tests that can look for possible causes of childhood urinary tract infections. Depending on your child and the type of urinary infection involved, more than one of the following tests may be needed:
  • Kidney and bladder ultrasound
  • Voiding cystourethrogram (VCUG)
  • Intravenous pyelogram
  • Nuclear scans
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Kidney and Bladder Ultrasound
An ultrasound can examine the kidney and bladder by using sound waves. An ultrasound is able to show shadows of the kidney and bladder that may point out certain abnormalities. However, this test cannot reveal all urinary abnormalities, and it cannot measure how well a kidney works.
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Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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