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Kids Health QA: Recurrent UTIs

Q. My 4-year-old has her second urinary-tract infection. I've taught her to wipe from front to back, but how else can we prevent them?

Practicing careful hygiene is always a good idea, but it turns out that other factors are more important when it comes to recurrent urinary-tract infections (UTIs). Some children are genetically prone to UTIs because of differences in the cells that line the bladder and urethra, and though it's rare, some are born with a physical abnormality that prevents urine from emptying as it should. More commonly, repeat infections are triggered by a problem in the child's urination pattern -- such as holding it in too long -- or constipation (a full rectum can interfere with voiding). Getting to the bottom of the cause is important because recurrent UTIs can up the risk of kidney damage. That's why doctors recommend tests for certain children with UTIs, and after two, your daughter might need them. So give your doctor a call. Together, you can figure out exactly what is going on with your daughter -- and the best way to keep her infection-free!

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