Common Urological Issues in Children: Symptoms and Treatments

Pediatric urological issues can significantly impact a child's health and well-being. Understanding pediatric urology conditions, their symptoms, and available treatments is crucial for parents and caregivers. This blog will discuss common urological issues in children, the symptoms to watch for, and the proper course of treatment to manage these conditions.

Common Urological Issues in Children: Symptoms and Treatments

1. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are common in children and occur when bacteria enter the urinary tract, causing an infection.

Symptoms of UTIs in children can include frequent urination, pain or burning during urination, a fever, and abdominal pain. In some cases, the urine may have a strong smell or appear cloudy or bloody.

Treatment for UTIs typically involves a course of antibiotics to eliminate the infection. Children need to drink plenty of fluids and practice good hygiene to help prevent UTIs. For children with a urinary tract infection, it is important to consult a pediatrician promptly for diagnosis and treatment.


  • Frequent Urination: A child may need to urinate more often than usual.
  • Pain or Burning: Complaints of pain or a burning sensation while urinating.
  • Fever: Often accompanied by a high fever.
  • Abdominal Pain: Discomfort in the lower abdomen.
  • Foul-Smelling Urine: Urine may have a strong odor.
  • Cloudy or Bloody Urine: Urine may appear cloudy or contain blood.


  • Antibiotics: The primary treatment for UTIs. It's essential to complete the entire course even if symptoms improve.
  • Increased Fluid Intake: Encourages frequent urination to flush out bacteria.
  • Pain Relief: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help manage discomfort.
  • Follow-Up: Regular follow-up visits with a pediatric urologist to ensure the infection has cleared and to prevent recurrence.

2. Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR) in Children

Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR) is a condition in children where urine flows backward from the bladder into the ureters and sometimes into the kidneys. This backward flow can lead to recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs) and kidney damage if left untreated.

Symptoms of VUR may include frequent UTIs, bedwetting, and pain during urination. In some cases, children may also experience abdominal pain.

Treatment for VUR depends on the severity and may range from low-dose antibiotics to prevent infections to surgical intervention in more severe cases. Regular monitoring by a pediatric urologist is essential to manage the condition and prevent complications.


  • Frequent UTIs: Recurring urinary tract infections are a common sign.
  • Bedwetting: Persistent bedwetting in older children.
  • Pain During Urination: Discomfort or pain while urinating.
  • Abdominal Pain: Especially in the lower abdomen or flank.


  • Antibiotics: Low-dose antibiotics to prevent UTIs in mild cases.
  • Surgery: For severe cases, surgical intervention to correct the reflux may be necessary.
  • Regular Monitoring: Regular ultrasounds or other imaging tests to monitor kidney health and function.

3. Hypospadias

Hypospadias is a congenital condition in boys where the opening of the urethra is not located at the tip of the penis but somewhere along the underside, which can range from near the head of the penis to as far down as the scrotum. This condition can cause issues with urination, as the urine stream may be deflected, and in some cases, it can also affect the appearance and function of the penis.

Symptoms include an abnormal urinary stream and a curved penis, especially noticeable during an erection.

Treatment typically involves surgery to correct the position of the urethral opening and any associated curvature, usually performed when the child is between six to 12 months old. Early diagnosis and surgical correction can help ensure normal urinary and reproductive function.


  • Abnormal Urinary Stream: The urinary stream may be deflected or abnormal.
  • Opening of the Urethra: The urethral opening may be located on the underside of the penis instead of the tip.
  • Curved Penis: The penis may appear curved, especially during an erection.


  • Surgery: Typically performed between 6 to 12 months of age to correct the urethral opening and any curvature.
  • Follow-Up Care: Post-surgical follow-up to ensure proper healing and function.

4. Undescended Testicle (Cryptorchidism)

Undescended Testicle, or Cryptorchidism, is a condition in which one or both of a baby boy's testicles have not moved into the scrotum before birth. Typically, testicles descend from the abdomen to the scrotum during the last months of fetal development.

Symptoms of an undescended testicle include the absence of one or both testicles in the scrotum, which can lead to asymmetry.

This condition is often detected during a routine physical exam shortly after birth. In some cases, the testicle may descend on its own within the first few months of life. If this does not happen, hormone therapy or surgery called orchiopexy may be necessary, usually performed between six to 18 months of age.

Early treatment is important to reduce the risk of complications such as infertility and testicular cancer.


  • Missing Testicle: One or both testicles are not palpable in the scrotum.
  • Asymmetry: Noticeable asymmetry in the scrotum.


  • Observation: In some cases, the testicle may descend on its own within the first few months of life.
  • Hormone Therapy: Hormone injections to stimulate testicular descent, though this is less commonly used.
  • Surgery: Orchiopexy is the surgical procedure to move the testicle into the scrotum, usually performed between six to 18 months of age.

5. Enuresis (Bedwetting)

Enuresis, commonly known as bedwetting, is the involuntary urination that occurs during sleep in children over the age of five. It is a common issue that can be frustrating for both the child and the parents.

Symptoms include wetting the bed at night, and in some cases, daytime wetting may also occur. Bedwetting can be caused by various factors, including a small bladder, deep sleep, hormonal imbalance, stress, or urinary tract infections.

Treatment options vary based on the cause and may include behavioral strategies such as establishing a regular bathroom schedule, limiting fluid intake before bedtime, and using bedwetting alarms. In some cases, medications may be prescribed to help manage the condition. With time and appropriate interventions, most children outgrow bedwetting.


  • Involuntary Urination: Urinating during sleep after the age at which bladder control is typically established.
  • Daytime Wetting: In some cases, children may also experience daytime incontinence.


  • Behavioral Strategies: Implementing a routine bathroom schedule, limiting fluid intake before bedtime, and using bedwetting alarms.
  • Medications: Desmopressin or anticholinergic medications to reduce nighttime urine production or bladder spasms.
  • Counseling: Addressing any underlying psychological issues or stressors that may contribute to bedwetting.

6. Hydronephrosis

Hydronephrosis is a condition in children where the kidneys become swollen due to the buildup of urine. This occurs when there is a blockage or obstruction in the urinary tract or when urine flows backward from the bladder into the kidneys.

Symptoms of hydronephrosis in children can include pain in the abdomen or side, urinary tract infections, fever, and difficulty urinating. In some cases, the condition is detected before birth through prenatal ultrasound.

Treatment for hydronephrosis depends on the severity and the underlying cause. Mild cases may only require regular monitoring with ultrasounds to ensure the kidneys are functioning properly. Severe cases may need surgical intervention to remove the blockage or to correct the reverse flow of urine.

Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment are essential to prevent kidney damage and ensure the child's urinary system functions effectively.


  • Swollen Kidney: Detected via prenatal ultrasound or in infants and children showing symptoms.
  • Pain: Abdominal or flank pain.
  • Urinary Issues: Difficulty urinating or frequent UTIs.


  • Observation: Mild cases may only require regular monitoring with ultrasounds.
  • Surgery: Severe cases may need surgical intervention to remove blockages or divert urine flow.
  • Antibiotics: To prevent infections in children with significant urine flow obstruction.

7. Inguinal Hernia

An inguinal hernia in children occurs when a portion of the intestine protrudes through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles, creating a bulge in the groin area. This condition is more common in boys and can be present at birth or develop shortly after.

Symptoms of an inguinal hernia include a noticeable bulge in the groin or scrotum, which may become more apparent when the child cries, coughs, or strains. The bulge may disappear when the child is relaxed or lying down. Inguinal hernias can cause discomfort or pain, and if left untreated, there is a risk of the intestine becoming trapped, leading to serious complications.

Treatment typically involves surgical repair to reposition the protruding intestine and strengthen the abdominal wall. This surgery, known as herniorrhaphy, is usually performed soon after diagnosis to prevent complications and ensure the child's health and well-being.


  • Groin Bulge: A noticeable bulge in the groin area, which may become more apparent when the child cries or strains.
  • Pain: Discomfort or pain in the groin.


  • Surgery: Herniotomy is usually performed to repair the hernia and prevent complications like strangulation.

8. Phimosis and Paraphimosis

Phimosis and paraphimosis are conditions that affect the foreskin of the penis in children. Its is when the foreskin cannot be retracted over the glans (head) of the penis, which is common in young boys and usually resolves naturally by adolescence.

Symptoms of phimosis include difficulty in retracting the foreskin, redness, swelling, and sometimes pain. Paraphimosis, on the other hand, occurs when the retracted foreskin cannot be returned to its normal position, leading to swelling and restricted blood flow to the glans. Symptoms of paraphimosis include severe pain, swelling of the glans, and a tight band of foreskin around the penis.

Treatment for phimosis often involves gentle daily retraction and hygiene practices, and in some cases, topical steroid creams may be prescribed to help loosen the foreskin.

Paraphimosis is a medical emergency that requires immediate attention to reduce swelling and restore the foreskin to its normal position, sometimes necessitating manual reduction or surgical intervention. Early and appropriate treatment of these conditions can prevent complications and ensure healthy development.


  • Phimosis: Inability to retract the foreskin over the glans penis.
  • Paraphimosis: Retracted foreskin that cannot be returned to its normal position, leading to swelling and pain.


  • Topical Steroids: Creams to help loosen the foreskin.
  • Circumcision: Surgical removal of the foreskin in severe or recurrent cases.
  • Emergency Care: Immediate medical attention for paraphimosis to reduce swelling and reposition the foreskin.

Common Urological Issues in Children

Understanding the common urological issues in children, recognizing the symptoms, and seeking appropriate treatments are crucial for maintaining your child's health. If you suspect your child has a urological problem, consult with a pediatric urology specialist near you for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Early intervention and management can significantly improve outcomes and ensure your child leads a healthy, active life.


The attentive, compassionate physicians, providers, and staff at Adult Pediatric Urology & Urogynecology are committed to providing innovative, quality patient care in our state-of-the-art facility.

From screening and prevention to treatment and recovery, our health professionals will be there for you. Our team of dedicated physicians has been serving residents of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota for more than 25 years.

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