The urethra is a small, narrow tube that carries urine from the bladder and out of the body. Inflammation or irritation of the urethra can cause a condition called urethritis. The symptoms of urethritis in children typically mimic those experienced by children with a urinary tract infection 1. If a parent or caregiver notices that a child develops symptoms of urethritis, the child should be taken to a doctor a soon as possible for further evaluation and care.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Inflammation of the urethra can cause painful, burning urination symptoms in children with this condition, explain medical professionals with the University of Wisconsin. A child can begin to complain that it hurts when she urinates, or she may appear reluctant or unwilling to use the bathroom. Male children with urethritis can also develop a red, swollen spot on the tip of the penis, which can be tender to the touch.
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Children who have urethritis can develop unusual discharge from the urethra as a symptom of this condition, explain health professionals with the Public Health Agency of Canada. The urethral discharge can appear thick or yellow, and may contain small amounts of blood. In certain cases, this unusual discharge can also give off an unpleasant or foul odor, according to medical experts with the University of California Los Angeles. A parent or caregiver may notice unusual blood-colored spots or stains caused by urethral discharge in an affected child's underwear. These symptoms of urethritis in children require immediate attention from a medical professional.
- Children who have urethritis can develop unusual discharge from the urethra as a symptom of this condition, explain health professionals with the Public Health Agency of Canada.
- In certain cases, this unusual discharge can also give off an unpleasant or foul odor, according to medical experts with the University of California Los Angeles.
Frequent or Urgent Urination
Inflammation within the urethra can extend up into a child's bladder. Bladder irritation can result in urethritis symptoms of frequent or urgent urination in certain children, report University of Wisconsin health professionals. Affected children may need to go to the bathroom more frequently than usual. Certain children may wet their pants due to urgent urination symptoms 1. A child who develops frequent or urgent urination symptoms should be evaluated by a medical professional to ensure an accurate diagnosis and the receipt of appropriate care.
- Inflammation within the urethra can extend up into a child's bladder.
- Bladder irritation can result in urethritis symptoms of frequent or urgent urination in certain children, report University of Wisconsin health professionals.
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- Merck Manual: Bacterial Urinary Tract Infections
- Young A, Wray AA. (2019) Urethritis. Treasure Island, Florida: StatPearls Publishing [Internet].
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- Moi H, Blee K, Horner PJ. Management of non-gonococcal urethritis. BMC Infect Dis. 2015;15:294. doi:10.1186/s12879-015-1043-4
- Bachmann LH, Johnson RE, Cheng H, et al. Nucleic acid amplification tests for diagnosis of Neisseria gonorrhoeae oropharyngeal infections. J Clin Microbiol. 2009;47(4):902-7. doi:10.1128/JCM.01581-08
- Brill JR. Diagnosis and Treatment of Urethritis in Men. Am Fam Physician. 2010 Apr;81(7):873-8.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, 2015. Atlanta, Georgia; updated June 5, 2015.
- Bachmann L, Manhart LE, Martin DH, et al. Advances in the understanding and treatment of male urethritis. Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Dec 15;61 (Suppl 8):S763-9. doi:10.1093/cid/civ755
Rae Uddin has worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2004. She specializes in scientific journalism and medical and technical writing. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Uddin earned her Master of Science in integrated biomedical sciences with an emphasis in molecular and cellular biochemistry from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine.