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Arch Dis Child 88:250-252 doi:10.1136/adc.88.3.250
  • Acute paediatrics

Parental reporting of smelly urine and urinary tract infection

  1. S Struthers1,
  2. J Scanlon2,
  3. K Parker2,
  4. J Goddard3,
  5. R Hallett2
  1. 1Department of Paediatrics, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Romsey Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 5DG, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatrics, St Mary‘s Hospital, Milton Road, Portsmouth, UK
  3. 3Health Care Research Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Tremona Road, Southampton, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr S Struthers, Department of Paediatrics, Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Romsey Road, Winchester, Hampshire SO22 5DG, UK;
    simonstruthers{at}hotmail.com
  • Accepted 17 September 2002

Abstract

Background: Parents often report that young children have “smelly urine” or a particular urinary odour. There is little evidence that these observations are relevant to the diagnosis of urinary tract infection (UTI).

Aims: To determine whether parental reporting of smelly urine is of any relevance to the diagnosis of UTI in children less than 6 years of age.

Methods: Parents whose children were having urine collected as part of their admission to a large district hospital were given a simple questionnaire to complete regarding the current smell of their child‘s urine. Parents were asked whether their child‘s urine smelled different from usual or had a particular smell. Microscopy and culture results of the child‘s urine were compared to their parent‘s questionnaire answers to see if there was a association between parental reporting of a different or particular urine smell and a diagnosis of UTI.

Results: One hundred and ten questionnaires and urine samples were obtained. Fifty two per cent of parents thought that their child‘s urine smelled different from usual or had a particular smell. Only 6.4% of children were diagnosed as having a UTI. There was no statistically significant association between parental reporting of abnormal urine smell and diagnosis of UTI.

Conclusion: In determining whether a young child has a UTI, asking parents about urine smell is unlikely to be of benefit.

Footnotes