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Cues from your kid’s urine
June 27, 2022
Child's feet dangling off toilet

    We don’t usually give it much thought, but urine can provide some important info about our kids’ health. If you or your child notice something out of the ordinary when they use the bathroom, it’s worth making an appointment with their pediatrician or primary care provider to have it checked out.

    Leigh Hamm, urology nurse practitioner identifies some urine clues to watch for

    What color should urine be?

    The first clue is color. Ideally urine should be anywhere from pale yellow to clear like water.

    The darker the yellow, the less hydrated your child is. Keep in mind that medications, supplements and certain foods can affect the color of urine.

    Can urine’s odor signal health problems?

    Urine typically doesn’t have an odor, especially when kids are well hydrated. If you detect a smell, it could mean there’s a higher level of waste in the urine than normal, or it may be a sign of a medical condition like a urinary tract infection or diabetes. As with color, foods and medications can impact urine’s odor. If drinking more water doesn’t make the smell go away, it’s a good idea to check in with the pediatrician or primary care provider.

    What to know about blood in the urine

    Traces of red or brown may mean there’s blood in the urine which isn’t normal. Blood could be the result of infection, kidney stones or problems with the kidneys. Urinalysis and potentially further testing are important to determine the cause of the blood and treat it appropriately.

    What is urinalysis?

    A urinalysis – or urine test – is a screening tool used to check for underlying health problems. We’ll ask for a sample of urine and examine its appearance and make-up beyond what can be seen with the naked eye. A urinalysis looks at things like acidity, bilirubin, concentration, ketones, protein and sugar levels. It can also reveal bacteria, small traces of blood, crystals or yeast.

    The results of the urinalysis can provide details about your child’s health and help in diagnosing:

    • Dehydration
    • Diabetes
    • Infection
    • Kidney stones
    • Kidney or liver disease

    The good news is that once we know what’s wrong, if anything, we can develop a treatment plan to return your child to functioning and feeling their best.

    Learn all about our nationally ranked pediatric urology care at CHoR.

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