Stories about: vesicoureteral reflux (VUR)

Recurrent UTIs in boys: When should you worry?

A UTI can be a sign of a greater problem in boys

We tend to think of urinary tract infections, or UTIs, as a predominantly female problem — and it’s true that they tend to be much more common in girls. This is largely due to their anatomy, which can make it easier for bacteria — typically E. coli from the colon — to enter the urethra, bladder and other parts of the urinary tract. Yet even though they’re much less likely to develop these infections, boys aren’t immune from UTIs.

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Learning from our Lotte

Lotte and her parents outside their suburban home
Sam, Lotte and Caroline

Parenting is a messy adventure – it tests our patience, our will and our energy, but never our concern, love or passion for our children.

With three kids under 10, my wife, Caroline, and I have managed broken noses, split lips, cuts and bruises too numerous to count … even Lyme disease, skin disorders, and serious fevers – most seem to come with the territory.

But there have been rare moments when one of our kids was sick and we didn’t know what was wrong or how to ease the pain, and in those moments, we felt pretty desperate. One of those times was when our 4-year-old daughter Charlotte or “Lotte” came down with a high fever when she was 10 months old. While this was not a new experience for us, the part that made us nervous was that the fever, despite Children’s Tylenol and Motrin, would not break.

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Jett’s story: A second opinion and a second chance


Allie and Chris Taylor vividly remember the day their second son Jett was born.

“Jett was a gift to me — the one I fought and cried for,” Allie recalls.

Twenty weeks earlier, during a routine ultrasound conducted at a nearby hospital, Allie and Chris were told their unborn son’s kidneys were enlarged. Doctors feared the worst.

“They did a second ultrasound and told us my baby wouldn’t make it past 28 weeks gestation. We were told we should see a specialist but not to keep our hopes high.”

Allie and Chris were seen three days later at the Advanced Fetal Care Center at Boston Children’s Hospital. They met with a team of fetal and pediatric experts, including Dr. Richard Lee, co-director of the hospital’s Urologic Trauma Unit.

Lee shared his expertise and gave the Taylors hope.

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Our patients’ stories: treating Matt’s vesicoureteral reflux


Preschoolers are drawn to play. Summertime sprinkler fun, snow-bound sledding and endless forms of indoor, outdoor horseplay are part of a youngster’s childhood fabric.

But for Matthew Dolan, carefree play was absent from much of his early years.

As a toddler and young boy, Matthew didn’t feel well and was much smaller than his active peers. He often experienced great pain—to the point of tears—when lying down, had numerous urinary tract infections (UTIs), ear infections and bouts of strep throat.

“I was sick all the time and stayed home from school frequently,” says Matthew, now 19. “I was tiny and not as active as other kids my age. They were larger, faster and more skilled at games we played.”

Matthew’s mother, Martha, knew her son was fighting a much larger medical issue. But Matthew’s pediatrician could not pinpoint the source of the problem.

“I felt very helpless since I knew something was wrong but didn’t know what was causing his pain,” says Martha.

At 6 years old, Matthew’s medical journey took a life-saving turn. He was referred to Boston Children’s Urology Department.

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